Strangers on a plane: Woman adopts child after meeting distressed mother-to-be on flight

Strangers on a plane: Woman adopts child after meeting distressed mother-to-be on flight
Samantha Snipes (left), Vaughn and Temple Phipps (right) (CBS NEWS)

NORTH CAROLINA (CBS News) - Samantha Snipes was 24 years old and eight months pregnant when she met Temple Phipps on a plane nearly two years ago. Snipes had just missed her connecting flight to North Carolina when she got the last seat on standby next to Phipps.

"I was scared and insecure and I wasn't even sure how to live on my own at that point," Snipes said.

Phipps, sensing her nervousness, asked her why she was anxious. Snipes told Phipps she was fleeing an abusive relationship and didn't feel capable of raising a child, reports CBS News' Anne-Marie Green.

"She didn't have a plan and maybe this was divine and that's why I'm supposed to be here," Phipps said.

As they left the airport, Phipps gave Snipes her phone number and told her to call if she needed anything. And she did. Three days later Snipes gave birth to a healthy baby boy and asked Phipps to come visit.

"She said I want to see you with him and I think you should be his mother and I literally started shaking uncontrollably," Phipps said. 

Phipps was 42 and had been looking into adoption but says she was overlooked as a single woman.

"It just felt right talking to her and seeing her with the baby and she looked like she would be a great mother for him," Snipes recalled. "She already looked like she loved him after holding him for like an hour. It's just, the stuff that I wasn't feeling, she was feeling and I was watching that and that's what made me decide this was the right thing to do."

Phipps says she officially adopted Vaughn last August. Snipes moved to North Carolina and lives an hour away so she can see him regularly.

"I count my blessings every day and I look at him and think I cannot -- I still can't believe this happened to me," Phipps said. "I won the baby lottery for sure, miracles do happen."

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