TORONTO – It’s been more than 10 years since Victor Boudreau has seen his uncle, Elwyn Murphy.
His family thought he was dead.
But in an extraordinary set of circumstances, Boudreau found Murphy through a viral social media post.
Murphy was the recipient of an act of kindness, when a couple, Michelle Gingrich and Todd Brilhante, gifted a Toronto Maple Leafs ticket to the homeless man on Feb. 25.
Gingrich posted the act of kindness on Facebook and the post went viral.
That’s when it caught the eye of Boudreau, who lives in Port Hawkesbury, N.S.
“I was looking through Facebook, came across this picture of this couple who bought a ticket for a homeless man to watch a hockey game, I didn’t think anything of it,” Boudreau said.
“I scrolled past it, but then I came back, and I noticed that he looked familiar to me,” Boudreau said.
“The creases of his eyes reminded me of somebody. So I looked at older pictures of my uncle and I put them together, and after 10 years they matched up.”
Murphy left his home province of Nova Scotia over a decade ago and has since been living on the streets of Toronto.
“I choose to live outside because I meet beautiful people every day,” he said.
But Murphy hasn’t kept in touch with family, adding he never wanted to be a burden on their lives.
“I try not to bother them. … to bring my problems into their world,” Murphy said.
But Boudreau was over the moon when he saw his uncle was alive and well, and the pair finally reconnected over Skype.
“I felt awesome. He sounded the same as he did 10 years ago,” said Boudreau.
The meeting served as an unexpected birthday surprise for Boudreau, who turned 31 on Thursday.
“It was just so nice to be able to talk to him on my birthday and hear him wish me a happy birthday. It’s been so long since I even heard his voice and anything about him, so just hearing him say happy birthday was awesome,” he said.
Murphy said he has always shared a special connection with his nephew, despite the years of silence.
“I was there the day he was born,” Murphy said. “It’s just that special bond that everybody has with a certain person.”
Murphy wants his family to know he’s OK.
“I’m beautiful. I’m not miserable. I’m not angry. I’m not depressed. I love life,” said Murphy.
“I wake up every morning, I see my two feet, I’m a happy man.”
© 2016 Shaw Media