These 2 Girl Scouts Meet Again
LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:
Earlier this year, our series Missed Connections told a story of two Girl Scouts who lost touch after a dramatic event. Linda Walker was a little girl at a North Carolina Girl Scout camp when a sudden storm blew in, and she was struck by lightning.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
LINDA WALKER: It didn't waste any time in pretty much frying me (laughter). I was on the floor. Well, obviously, with a large boom and crackle, the other girls took off running. But as Girl Scouts, you always keep up with your buddy. You never lose track of your buddy. And my buddy ran out of the tent without me but realized I wasn't with her and came back. Had she not done that, I wouldn't be here today.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That girl was Laurie Luna. And they hadn't seen each other since that happened. We brought them back together for the first time in February.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED BROADCAST)
WALKER: Oh, my (laughter).
LAURIE LUNA: Hi, Linda.
WALKER: Hi (laughter). Oh, my goodness.
LUNA: Are you as nervous as I am?
WALKER: (Laughter) I am.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: And now we have an update to our story. Linda Walker and Laurie Luna, welcome back.
WALKER: Well, thank you very much.
LUNA: Thank you.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So when we last spoke, you both expressed an interest in meeting up again. Linda, why don't you start? What happened?
WALKER: Well, after the discovery and the connection on the radio, we did the story. And then we were allowed to stay on the line after you finished the interview. And we got addresses and made contact. And we made arrangements to connect with each other during the summer. And I just - I was on pins and needles just waiting for my opportunity to see Laurie again. And she came to North Carolina. And we made arrangements and connected and went back to camp.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Wow. Laurie, what was that reunion like?
LUNA: It was really pretty exciting, actually (laughter). Of course, you know, I never knew that Linda had actually survived. So, you know, all those years, I didn't know what happened to her till NPR did the segment for us. And so it was really pretty cool. We went out and toward the camp. And they - the girls were great. They were just in awe about our whole deal.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'm sure (laughter).
LUNA: And (laughter) - I don't know. I should probably let Linda tell you this one. But when we were talking to the girls, all of a sudden, the storm came in. And there was literally a lightning bolt that hit right outside of the mess hall.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: No, you're kidding me.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So you're at camp in the summer with all these young girls. They all know that - your story and what you're there for. And there was a storm, and there was a lightning bolt that striked (ph)? Linda, is that true?
WALKER: (Laughter) Yes. It was a little bit of a jumpy moment (laughter), a little surreal (laughter).
GARCIA-NAVARRO: I'll say. That is insane. Did you - what did you do, Linda? I mean, I imagine you must have been like...
GARCIA-NAVARRO: ...Oh, my goodness. I need to get indoors.
WALKER: We both jumped a little bit (laughter). I probably jumped a little bit higher (laughter), having some actual personal experience with it.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So Laurie and Linda, what did you talk about when you saw each other after all that time?
WALKER: I think part of it was just kind of piecing together what had happened and - because, like Laurie said, she thought I'd passed away - and just my transition and my - you know, where I was. And we also talked about, you know, where we are today and how we got there.
LUNA: I mean, I just - all those years, I just thought I'd never see her again. And we just had a - we had a good time. We had - went out to dinner with her husband. And, you know, we just enjoyed the time together.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Laurie, there's this belief - right? - that when you save a person's life, you're somehow connected to that person for the rest of your lives. Does it feel like that?
LUNA: Yes, it does, and even more so when we actually got together after the - you know, we went to the camp. And we spent some time together as adults. And it just - it was like, you know, we were always there.
WALKER: I felt that thread most definitely. When we met, it was like a thread that had been woven through my life that was just sort of loose and free-floating had just, all of a sudden, tied a firm knot. She was just so instrumental. I mean, my entire life is here because of her rescue. And I just - that link is - it can't go away.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Laurie, what do you feel when you hear that?
LUNA: Well, I got tears in my eyes. Does that help (laughter)?
GARCIA-NAVARRO: So do we.
LUNA: Yeah. It was just good to see her and have some time with her. And, you know, I'm sure we'll be checking in with each other from here on out.
WALKER: Following each other's lives.
GARCIA-NAVARRO: Linda Walker and Laurie Luna of our Missed Connections series, happy holidays to you both. And thanks so much for checking in with us again.
WALKER: Thank you.
LUNA: Thank you. Hey, Linda, we'll talk soon.
WALKER: OK. You take care, Laurie.
(SOUNDBITE OF GEORGE TIDEWELL'S "HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS")
GARCIA-NAVARRO: That warms my heart. If you want to hear more Missed Connections like Laurie and Luna's in the New Year, please submit your stories to weekend at npr.org. Leave your name and number, and we'll be sure to follow up.
(SOUNDBITE OF GEORGE TIDEWELL'S "HAVE YOURSELF A MERRY LITTLE CHRISTMAS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.