When Ally Cole and Ruby Wierzbicki just happened to sit next to each other on a crowded bus on their college campus, they discovered they both were adopted as kids from an orphanage in China. But just as things couldn’t get any more surreal, photos on their phones revealed this was a reunion unlike anything they could have imagined!
The Power of Love
Ally Cole sighed in relief spotting an open seat on the packed shuttle bus transporting students across Liberty University’s campus, nestled in Lynchburg, Virginia. The girl next to her smiled as she slid in next to her.
“Hi, I’m Ally,” the 21-year-old introduced herself.
“Ruby Wierzbicki,” her seatmate replied.
As the bus chugged along, they chatted.
“Where are you from?” Ally asked.
“New Jersey — but I was adopted from China,” 19-year-old Ruby stated.
Ally grew wide-eyed. “I grew up in Maryland, but I was adopted from China too.”
Amazed by the coincidence, the two began to share more details, and to their amazement, discovered they were both from the city of Jinan. It was then that they jumped on their phones to pull up photos they each had from the orphanage they’d lived in.
Ally gasped seeing a picture of Ruby on a red-and-blue slide. It wasn’t so much the slide that stopped her, but the color and shape of the puzzle floor mats, the toys sprawled across the floor, the pictures on the wall … all were identical to those in the photo Ally had of herself swishing down a slide.
“Everything matches,” Ruby exclaimed. “We were at the same orphanage!”
And both were adopted 15 years ago, Ally at age 6 and Ruby at age 4.
“We were there at the same time!” they realized.
Connecting the Dots
Just then, they arrived at their bus stop. Too excited to part ways, they stepped away from the crowd to go through more photos and compare memories. Ally pulled up a picture of a group of orphans, pointing to one in the front row.
“This is me,” she said.
Ruby paused in shock and pointed to the little girl standing right next to her. “That’s me!” she exclaimed.
The more they talked and shared, the more they began to discover there were several photos with them sitting or standing together. They also learned they had a mutual “best friend” back then.
Knowing they had to get to class, the girls exchanged numbers and reconnected later over the phone. They talked for hours, discussing their dreams for the future. Ruby was studying exercise science, and Ally was preparing for a career in graphic design. And both shared that, when it came to picking a university to attend, Liberty wasn’t their first choice. But after visiting the campus, both admitted to feeling something deep in their spirit that told them it was the right place. After their incredible reunion, they both agreed that nudge was a blessing in the making.
A Perfect Plan
As Ally and Ruby began to share their story with others, they kept getting the same response. “What a coincidence!” or “What were the chances?” But both girls know what came about on that crowded shuttle on that April 2021 afternoon was far more than happenstance. Chills feather over their skin as they consider their journey from being adopted in China to coming to America and living in separate states, then choosing the same college where, despite the 15,000 students on campus, they landed in neighboring seats on the same bus.
“I knew from the start it was not a coincidence at all, but rather, the hands of God at work,” Ruby says with a smile. “Only God could have orchestrated something this amazing. And I am so grateful. Because of what He’s done, I know I will always stay connected to Ally throughout life.”
Ally beams in agreement. “My faith also grew stronger because of how rare this was,” she admits with a grateful heart. “I don’t know much about my past, which is something I’ve always been okay with and I felt so blessed to be adopted, but at the same time, a part of me has always wondered about it. Having this connection is a blessing. I would have never thought anything like this could ever happen, but now I believe that absolutely anything is possible!”
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.