It was a reunion decades in the making.
Formerly homeless military veteran David Abeyta and his mother reunited in Los Angeles on Friday just in time for Mother’s Day after not speaking for 27 years.
After Abeyta left the Air Force decades ago, he began a downward spiral. He battled a gambling addiction, got divorced from his wife, saw the death of his only child, and attempted to commit suicide, according to his online biography.
Abeyta moved to a Philippine island to find solace before returning to LA, where he underwent treatment for Hepatitis C contracted during his time in the military.
Once in LA, he moved into the SRO Housing Corporation in the downtown area known as Skid Row and started working toward a degree.
The SRO posted Abeyta's "success story" online, which found its way to his family.
Mary Schoefield, Abeyta's mother, called SRO to reconnect with her long-lost son.
"He was always with me," Schoefield told NBC4. "Every single day and night. He was never far, even though I never saw him."
Schoefield drove five hours from Arizona before a tearful reunion with her son Friday morning at his LA apartment.
Abeyta said he is still trying to process the situation.
"I never thought it was going to happen… it was more than a shock," he said.
The mother-son pair will have a Mother's Day dinner on Sunday.
"We’re catching up on lost time," Abeyta said.
Abeyta is expected to graduate with a Drug and Alcohol Counseling Certificate in June and complete his degree in December. He also tutors and counsels young addicts several hours a week.