OMAHA, Neb. (WSVN) — After receiving the gift of life, a South Florida man finally had the opportunity to say thank you to the donor’s family.

Richard Arce traveled to Omaha, Nebraska on Wednesday to meet those with whom he shares a special bond: a family born out of a heart transplant.

Moments after he touched down, Arce anxiously crossed a terminal and hugged Brian Cabello.

“He received our daughter’s heart,” said Cabello.

“I joke with people and say, ‘I’m part woman,’ and they look at me [like I’m] crazy, and I go, ‘Yeah, yeah,'” said Arce, “and when I explain it to them, they’re in shock, too. They can’t believe it.”

Cameras captured the moment Cabello was able to listen to the heart of his daughter Nicolina through a stethoscope.

The two families, first brought together by circumstance, had been planning the visit for years.

“They’re meeting their daughter, again, and I’m meeting like a mom and dad,” said Arce.

But their embrace was put on hold for years because of COVID.

It was a joyful and poignant moment.

“It’s just kind of hard for me, too, ’cause she suffered from [post-traumatic stress disorder], and so do I,” said Arce.

The Cabello family described Nicolina as a vibrant, kind and caring 32-year-old who served in the Army. She died in 2018.

“She’s with me every single day, wherever I go, whatever I do,” said Arce.

“Whoever gets her heart is going to be blessed, because she had a really good heart,” said another family member.

Even though it was a bittersweet moment for the Cabellos, they said they are happy to have a new family member.

Copyright 2022 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox