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CHANCE ENCOUNTER REUNITES MAN, SON

For gas station clerk Nueng Garcia, it was just another day on the job until he noticed the name of one man who paid with a check.

"Are you John Garcia?" he asked."Yes," came the answer.

"Were you ever in the Air Force?

"Yes."

"Were you ever in Thailand?

"Yes."'

"Did you ever have a son?"

With that question, the two stared at each other and realized at the same moment that they were the father and son who had been separated 27 years ago and half a world away.

"I started thinking - this couldn't be. I was totally shocked," the elder Garcia said Thursday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

Until Monday's chance meeting, John Garcia, 49, had not seen his son since July 1969, when the elder Garcia was a young American serviceman.

Nueng was just 3 months old when his father left him and his mother, Pratom Semon, in Thailand. Both father and son said the woman did not want to leave her homeland for the United States.

Garcia said he continued to write and send checks to his son's mother after he left Thailand. Nueng said his mother was seeing another man, who put a stop to his father's correspondence.

After two years of writing, Garcia lost touch with his son. In later years, he sent letters to the government in Bangkok seeking an address. They went unanswered.

Nueng Garcia and his mother moved to Colorado Springs in 1971, after immigrating to the United States with another American serviceman Semon married.

By chance, John Garcia moved to Pueblo nine years ago to take a job.

That their paths met this week was even more unlikely. Garcia said he never goes to that gas station, wasn't even low on gas and hardly ever pays with a check.

"I don't even know why I stopped for gas," he said.

His newfound 27-year-old son put his arm around the man who was once a stranger and said, "Dad . . . I'm glad you stopped."