Ed Miecznikowski is 90 years old, but remembers vividly the day he was working for the Pawtucket Department of Public Works, cleaning up the banks of the Blackstone River, when he found 3-month-old Elizabeth Sifuentes.
"I know what would have happened if I didn't find her that day," he said.
Sifuentes was elated Wednesday after 28 years to finally meet her rescuer at Miecznikowski's daughter's house in Pawtucket.
"It's so nice to meet you. I've been waiting a very long time for this day," she said.
Miecznikowski wasn't supposed to be at work on May 29, 1985. It was his 62nd birthday.
"The city gives you a day off if your birthday comes (on a workday)," he said.
Instead, he went to work and saved the day off for Friday to make a three-day weekend.
So while cleaning the debris, he stumbled across what he at first thought was a doll.
"I took another look. She kind of shook her hands, and I was 'Oh, she must be alive,'" Miecznikowski said in 1985.
"It's too coincidental. You feel like the 'powers that be' might have been at work that day," Sifuentes said.
Ever since the day he found her, Miecznikowski said he wondered what ever happened to the baby girl.
He said he had that thought as recently as just a couple of weeks ago.
"Nothing ever happened until now. I think about something, and it happens," Miecznikowski said.
Miecznikowski not only met Sifuentes on Wednesday, but also her two sons.