There are some people who come into our lives for a moment but never leave our minds and hearts. That’s exactly what happened to Reginald «Reg» Pai, a 99-year-old World War II veteran who kept a picture in his wallet of the first woman he fell in love with for nearly 80 years.
Reg was on a mission near the beaches of Normandy and remembers as if it were yesterday when he met Huguette, a young French girl of 14, with whom he exchanged only a few glances and a jam sandwich. At the time, Reg was landing on Sword Beach to assist the Allied invasion of continental Europe against the German enemy when he stopped for a break.
«We had a tin of sardines and bread with margarine and jam. I looked up and saw a girl standing in front of me. I didn’t notice her coming up. She was wearing a white dress, not to say shabby. She was very pretty. I offered her sardines, but she refused them, taking bread and jam,» recalls Reg.
«Immediately afterwards she ran across the village square to the church. That was the last time I saw her,» the veteran added. Huguette left her picture in Reg’s van to thank him for sharing a jam sandwich with her, «I still keep it to this day, admiring it whenever I lose hope in humanity.»
Over the decades, Reg has tried several times to find Huguette, even with the help of his son, but without success. Now, with the help of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, the two have finally met. Reg came with a jam sandwich and a tin of sardines. Huguette, now a mother of three, accepted the sandwich and again refused the can of sardines with a wide smile. Apart from the sandwich, Reg showed her a photograph: «I’ve kept it for 78 years,» he said.
Huguette said she was «very touched» that Reg had kept her picture all these years and tried to contact her. They ended with a warm hug and a kiss on the cheek, after which Huguette joked that they should get married now.
What a great story, don’t you think?