Vt. father, son meet for 1st time in chance encounter - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. father, son meet for 1st time in chance encounter

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

When Stephen Hart visits his mom and dad, the words mean a little more, and so do the embraces because it's all new. They only met last week.

"I never expected anyone to call me dad, but he has," Steven Dattilio said.

He never expected it because he never knew he had a child. Stephen Hart was adopted when he was two weeks old. Stephen always wanted to know his birth father, but was scared to offend his adoptive family and didn't know if his birth dad would accept him. He found out his dad's name was Steven Dattilio, but never tried to contact him.

"I had a big hole, there was a huge hole," Stephen said.

That hole was filled after what they call a miracle. On 12-12-12, both Steves had doctors' appointments in the same office. When the nurse came out and called "Steve" they both stood up.

"They said Dattilio and my mind exploded," Stephen said.

Stephen watched his father walk by him. His fiancée, Tammy Davis, knew she had to do something.

"I said to my Steve, you go on without me. I'm not letting these people leave here," Tammy said.

Steven Dattilio: She said your son is inside the building.

Reporter Gina Bullard: What did you think?

Steven Dattilio: I thought she was nuts.

Steven waited in that doctor's office to meet his son-- a moment 43 years in the making.

"I could tell right away who he was," Steven said.

"It was like I won the lottery," Stephen said. "It really was."

When we caught up with them Wednesday at Steven's house in South Burlington, it was just the fourth time the families had met, but Steven and Stephen have quickly bonded, finding they have a lot in common. They're both quiet, they both enjoy football and hunting, and they have similar mannerisms.

Steven and his wife Lou Rhea are now mom and dad.

"It's right. It's just right," Lou Rhea said. "It feels like it's supposed to be this way."

The couple never had kids and didn't realize how much they were missing, even keeping the envelopes from their Christmas gifts.

Gina Bullard: Does this mean more than the gifts?

Lou Rhea Dattilio: Yes. I don't even know what they gave, that's just the best.

Gina Bullard: Is this a good Christmas present?

Stephen Hart: The best I've ever had.

Realizing the best gifts can't be found under any tree.

Stephen Hart is so moved by meeting his father, he's changing his name. He will now also be known as Stephen Dattilio.

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