Strangers meet in NC CarMax waiting room, discover they’re long-lost relatives

Florence Henderson and Ina Cope (Kristen Hampton | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – Ina Cope never imagined when she took her car in for service that she’d end up finding her aunt she’d lost touch with more than 30 years ago.

Wednesday morning, Cope was having trouble with the coffee dispenser in the service area waiting room at CarMax. A kind woman, who was also waiting on her car, came over to help.

The two started talking.

“She said something about ‘I’m from New York.’ I said, ‘I’m from New York, where you from in New York?’” Cope said.

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The woman, 79-year-old Florence Henderson, listed an address on a street in Harlem.

“She said, ‘I’m from 1465.’ I said, ‘I’m from 1469,’” Henderson said.

This is when things started coming together. Not only were the two women neighbors, they were aunt and niece.

“I said oh my God! I got up out of my chair and I was like ‘Auntie! Where have you been?’” Cope said.

Cope’s family had been trying to find Henderson for years. No one realized the aunt and her niece were living in the same city here in Charlotte.

“We might have passed by each other before in the last 12 years and never known it,” Cope said.

It was fate. And a matter of perfect timing.

Both women are left tearful over their reunion. And they both vow to never lose touch again. They’ve also planned to bring all their family down from New York for a Charlotte Christmas reunion.

All thanks to service appointments at CarMax – and the coffee dispenser that wasn’t working.

“It was meant to happen,” Henderson said. “I believe that.”

Copyright 2017 WBTV. All rights reserved.

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