On Tuesday morning, the emotional story had a happy ending as the two men appeared on “New Day” to talk about their reunion with anchor Chris Cuomo.
“I’m doing a lot better,” a tearful Aaron Mitchell said as he sat next to his father Bryan Bacle in Austin, Texas, after traveling by bus from Rockport to reunite with him. “I’m really glad I actually found him.”
“I want to say thanks to Nick,” Mitchell added, referencing CNN’s Nick Valencia, the correspondent who facilitated the connection via satellite phone while the reporter was on duty in Rockport.
When Hurricane Harvey ramped up last week and lashed Texas coastal towns, Mitchell walked 12 miles from his home in Aransas Pass to his father’s house in Rockport, but Bacle was gone.
Mitchell was beset with worry.
In an interview Monday on CNN, Mitchell told Valencia that cell service had been down since Thursday and he didn’t know Bacle’s whereabouts. Valencia gave Mitchell the satellite phone to call his father, who had been evacuated to Austin. Bacle still had his cell phone handy.
“I was so concerned, not hearing from him for a few days,” Bacle said on “New Day.” “He was supposed to show up earlier on Friday and he didn’t show and then the police had come and asked me to evacuate at the behest of my family. It was hard to just leave.”
Up until two years ago, Mitchell and Bacle hadn’t spoken for many years, so their reunion held special significance for a father and a son who had already spent so much time apart.
Mitchell’s alarm over his dad’s situation during the chaos of the storm and his relief that his father was safe and sound gave him a new perspective about family.
“My dad’s my hero,” he said.
The love and concern touched Bacle.
“It meant quite a bit that he was so concerned,” Bacle said.
“You wonder about your kids sometimes and we all have our little differences as we grow older and our relationships become strained and changed. It’s just so much. It’s overwhelming sometimes to think about the love between a father and a son. It’s there and that’s what matters. Material things can always be changed.”
Want to help Hurricane Harvey victims like Aaron Mitchell and Bryan Bacle? CNN’s Impact Your World has a list of all the ways you can do it.
By Lindsey Ellefson, CNN