- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 8, 2014

WINDGAP, Pa. (AP) - The phone call, in a sense, restored faith in humanity for both David Volk and Wilhelmenia Dinkins.

For Volk, a Plainfield Township resident who was abandoned just hours after birth 36 years ago in the bathroom of a Newark McDonald’s, there was the reassurance that his birth mother may have cared more about his well-being than the circumstances dictated.

For Dinkins, the manager at the McDonald’s who found Volk in that bathroom and rescued him, there was a renewed belief in the ability of people to go out of their way to say, “Thank you.”

Volk, inspired by media reports of a South Whitehall Township woman who took to social media to find her birth mother 27 years after being abandoned in a Burger King, launched his own online campaign in April to find his birth mother.

His efforts also garnered the attention of news outlets near and far, but unlike Katheryn Deprill, the South Whitehall Township woman, Volk has yet to track down his birth mother. He says he hasn’t given up hope and is optimistic he’ll get a call back from “Good Morning America” any day now so he can put his story in front of a national audience.

In the meantime, Volk has started forging a different relationship, one he didn’t anticipate when he first launched the campaign. Through the assistance of good Samaritans with a knack for navigating Facebook, Volk was able to track down Dinkins this week. He got her phone number. He picked up the phone on Monday and dialed it. She answered the call.

“I was totally surprised,” says Dinkins, whose days at the McDonald’s in Newark are long behind her; she’s now a retired grandmother living with her family in Texas. “I never dreamed this would happen. It was exciting. I’ve had all sorts of emotions over the last couple days.”

‘That baby was me’

Volk says he started the conversation with a few simple questions that gradually piqued Dinkins’ curiosity. He had a newspaper clipping from 36 years ago about his rescue so he knew her name even before he tracked her down through Facebook.

“I asked for her by name,” he recalls about the start of the conversation. “I asked her if she used to work at a McDonald’s. I said, ‘Do you remember rescuing a baby left in a bathroom?’ She said, ‘Yes I do.’ I told her, ‘That baby was me.’ It was very emotional from there.”

Dinkins says she believes she’s given some comfort to Volk about what happened the day he was abandoned. Contrary to what Volk’s old newspaper clipping reports, she says, there was evidence someone cared for the baby before she found him.

“I don’t believe the mother just discarded him,” Dinkins says. “The baby was clothed and wrapped in a blanket. He was left at a time and in a place where she knew he would be found. Aside from that, she could have placed him outside. It was Dec. 20. The temperatures were frigid at the time. She didn’t do that.”

After discovering Volk in the bathroom, Dinkins took hold of the baby and immediately contacted authorities. He was healthy, she recalls.

Volk says he expressed his gratitude to Dinkins for what she did that day and the information she provided in their phone conversation.

Dinkins told Volk her daughter spotted a woman leaving the McDonald’s shortly before the baby was discovered. The daughter was outside the restaurant waiting to pick up Dinkins at the end of her work shift. The woman she spotted was dressed in medical scrubs and had what appeared to be blood on her back.

Volk doesn’t know if that woman was her mother. What he does know is that he will forever be indebted to Dinkins.

“I let her know how appreciative I was for saving me,” he says.

A new generation

For Dinkins, the gratitude didn’t go unnoticed.

“To think that he would try to find me after all these years and say, ‘Thank you,’” she says. “Those two words … you don’t hear them too often from people in this day and age.”

Volk was adopted about a year after Dinkins rescued him. He says he had a good upbringing. He’s now married. His wife just learned this spring that she is expecting their first child. The baby’s due date, Volk says, is Dec. 20, the same day he was found in the McDonald’s bathroom.

Volk says he’s also trying to get another important date on the calendar - the day he gets to meet Dinkins in person. With a baby coming, he says, it probably won’t happen immediately, but it will happen eventually.

Dinkins is also hopeful for a face-to-face reunion.

“My grandchildren and children are all excited to meet him,” she says. “We’re looking forward to it.”





Information from: The (Easton, Pa.) Express-Times, https://www.lehighvalleylive.com

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