ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- A landscape contractor and a painter in Orange Park , Randall Wilsey is a creator of beauty.
He has two stepchildren with his wife, Leigh, but thought the chance to have children of his own had long passed.
About 2,000 miles away in Denver, Colo., Heidi McGuire thought she'd lost her father when she was seven. But her mom was living with a secret.
"[Heidi's mother] has told me that she, all this time, has wanted to let Heidi know and wanted to call me," Wilsey said.
After a failed attempt to contact Wilsey years ago, Heidi was given another chance, on Facebook when Wilsey's wife created an account for her technology-challenged husband.
He reconnected with old friends, and then, an old flame.
At one point years ago, he had suspected he might be the father of her child. "She didn't confirm it," Wilsey said. "To be honest after that point I did not think that Heidi was my daughter."
After speaking on the phone several times with Heidi's mom, he couldn't escape the nagging feeling and after all these years, he had to know for sure. "I asked her if Heidi was my daughter," Wilsey said, choking up. "And she said, 'I think so!'"
Just a few hours later, he was seeing his daughter's face and hearing her voice for the very first time. "It was very exciting to know that I had a daughter and she had a dad."
They were both shocked, but excited and immediately decided they had to meet in person as soon as possible.
As the big day approached, Wilsey's emotions exploded. There's regret for not knowing and not asking sooner.
"I have lots of guilt about that," Wilsey said through sobs. "I can't change that. I can't change it."
But there's also joy. He's overwhelmed every time he sees the picture of Heidi. "I sometimes wonder if that's my genetics. I mean, she's beautiful. Absolutely beautiful."
As soon as Heidi spotted him walking toward her in the airport, they hugged like old friends.
In person, the resemblance was unmistakable. "Seeing Heidi, it's like 30 years in one second from birth to now," Wilsey said. "What an incredible moment."
First Coast News