A couple who came together by chance 21 years ago has now shared their remarkable story with new pictures of the boy’s life.
In August 2000, social worker Danny Stewart was heading to meet his partner, Pete Mercuriofor dinner when he made a shocking discovery: An infant, wrapped in a sweatshirt, nestled into a corner of the 14th St. A/C/E subway station exit.
At first, he thought it was a doll, perhaps left behind by a child, until he saw a tiny leg move. He quickly discovered it was a newborn baby, the umbilical cord still attached. The little child was not even placed on a seat for comfort but was left on the floor of the subway car as though he were worth little more than trash.
“I noticed on the floor tucked up against the wall, what I thought was a baby doll,” Danny said to BBC. “I glanced back one more time, and that’s when I noticed his legs moved.”
Mercurio ran to the station, a block away from his apartment, and found Stewart there with two police officers.
“One of them was carrying the baby in his arms,” he says. “Just a chill raced up my spine. Like, it’s an unbelievable thing.”
The baby boy was then transported to a nearby hospital, and the men were overcome with emotion at what had just occurred.
“You know, you’re going to be connected to that baby in some way for the rest of your life,” Mercurio, a web designer, told Stewart, according to the BBC.
“[Eventually,] this child is going to learn of the night he was found and he may want to find the person who discovered him. Maybe there’s a way that we can find out where he ends up and send a birthday gift every year on this date.”
At first, it didn’t seem like that would happen. Stewart had been unable to find the baby on a visit to St. Vincent’s and so the couple, who had met through a local softball league, resumed their regular lives.
Then, in December, Stewart was invited to testify at a family court hearing. After his testimony, the judge asked him a question that would change the course of his life.
The judge made a unique proposition during the hearing. The judge suggested that Danny and Pete adopt the abandoned baby since they obviously cared for him.
“I had not had thoughts of adopting,” Danny said. “but at the same time, I could not stop thinking that… I did feel connected. I felt like this was not even an opportunity. It was a gift, and how can you say no to this gift.”
Today, Kevin is 20, in college, studying mathematics and computer science. Mercurio describes him as “reserved” and “kind of private.” Photos of the family’s numerous national park vacations show a smiling man who now stands over six feet tall.
In September, Mercurio published a children’s book, “Our Subway Baby,” about Kevin’s story. “Where there’s love anything is possible,” reads the back cover.
While dropping Kevin off at college, his dads gifted it to him.
“About a week later he texted us and said, ‘I’m so proud of this book,’ ” said Mercurio.
While Kevin “doesn’t go around telling people his story,” he now keeps the book on the corner of the desk in his dorm, where he’s an RA.