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“Phonebox baby,” abandoned 22 years ago, reunites with the “hero” who rescued her

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A very sweet story in local paper in London, England, one that started out near disastrously and ended beautifully. Here’s the lead, written by Nicole Le Marie, for Metro:

A woman dumped in a phone box as a baby has been reunited with the stranger who rescued her 22 years ago – after he read about her in Metro.

Kiran Sheikh’s mother, trapped in an abusive relationship, abandoned her daughter in a phone booth (the British call them phoneboxes) when Kiran was only two hours old.

But she “then called the Samaritans, urging them to come quickly for the baby.”

As fate would have it, the then-30-year-old Joe Campbell found the baby first. He “called police after seeing what he first thought was ‘a bag of chips,’” Le Marie wrote.

For the first five years, Campbell kept in touch before the social services asked him to cut ties.

‘I was allowed a picture with her, which I kept,’ added Mr. Campbell, who said he asked about adopting the baby himself, but was turned down as he was not married.

But he never forgot her and later often spoke to his own five children – aged from seven to 17 – about their ‘adopted sister’.

But Ms. Sheikh never forgot the kindness of the man who had rescued her. Earlier this week a co-worker of Campbell

showed him a copy of Metro, where Ms. Sheikh was appealing to find her saviour, saying he was called John or Joe Campbell.

‘A colleague showed it to me when he saw my name, and was sure it was me. I said “no”. Then I saw her photograph and I was overcome, I was so happy,’ said Mr. Campbell, from Bell Green, south London.

Wednesday night the reunion took place in Metro’s London offices.

“He says anyone would have done what he did, but they wouldn’t,” Ms. Sheikh, who now has a two-year-old of her own, told Le Marie. “It’s so amazing to have been reunited with him. He’s my hero. We lived down the road from each other for years, we must have passed each other, I can’t believe we were so close.”

For his part Campbell told Metro, “This is the happiest day of my life,” adding, “I never stopped thinking about her, I never thought this day would come.”

Campbell said he wants to introduce Ms Sheikh to his wife and family.

“She has a family waiting for her now, my children will love to meet her,” he said. “I’m so grateful we have been brought together.”


Chelsea Garcia is a political writer with a special interest in international relations and social issues. Events surrounding the war in Ukraine and the war in Israel are a major focus for political journalists. But as a former local reporter, she is also interested in national politics.

Chelsea Garcia studied media, communication and political science in Texas, USA, and learned the journalistic trade during an internship at a daily newspaper. In addition to her political writing, she is pursuing a master's degree in multimedia and writing at Texas.

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