Chance meeting on bus leads to discovery of past connection on other side of the world

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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Imaging striking up a conversation on a bus with someone you didn’t know that you already knew.

That’s what happened to sophomore Ally Cole and Freshman Ruby Wierzbicki.

Boarding a crowded bus across campus, Cole sat in an open seat next to Wierzbicki and they struck up some small-talk.

Wierzbicki said she was from New Jersey but was adopted from China. That’s when Cole said she grew up in Maryland but was also adopted from China.

Initially, they thought it was a coincidence but they quickly discovered that they came from the same city of Jinan and both pulled up a photo from the orphanage they were adopted from as young children.

A photo of Wierzbicki on a red and blue slide that Cole thought looked familiar – that proved to be the moment of realization.

“We held up the photos side-by-side on our phones and we realized that everything matched, and we knew that it had to be the same place.”

Ruby Wierzbicki

Their bus dropped them off and the girls stepped off to the side of the crowd to continue sharing photos and uncovered just how much their paths had crossed.

As it turns out, they were adopted one week apart (Cole was six and Wierzbicki was four). They could even identify themselves standing side-by-side in certain photos.

“We started scrolling through our photos on our phones, and I realized that Ruby had a lot of the photos of me that I’d never seen before and photos where we were together. We even had a mutual friend from the orphanage, Emma, that we each had photos with.

One of the photos was one that we both had, with us standing next to each other, and I hadn’t known who the girl next to me was, but now I know.”

Ally Cole

As they retraced each of their journeys from China to the United States, from their individual home states to Virginia, and even from the different places they frequent on a campus swarming with more than 15,000 students to how they landed in neighboring seats on the same bus, Wierzbicki, and exercise science student) and Cole (a graphic design student) acknowledge that their meeting was no accident.

“There are people I’ve talked to about this and they’ve said, ‘What a coincidence.’ But we think that this is 100% God,” Wierzbicki said. “There no way that two people who were in the same orphanage in a different country can somehow end up at the same school at the same time and have it not be God.”

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