A dad-of-two was reunited with his long lost grandfather after 18 years apart – after he tracked him down on Facebook.
Martin Burns, 26, a factory worker, was desperate to meet up with his grandad David Burns, 73, who he had not seen following a family argument.
The dad-of-two set himself a New Year’s resolution on January 1 to track down David, a retired bus driver.
Martin posted an old photo on Facebook on 2 January and had tracked down his long lost ‘papa’ within hours – who was living less than an hour away.
Martin from of Renfrewshire, Scotland, said: “I had decided that 2018 was the year that I would find my long lost granddad.
“The last time I saw David I was eight years old. I wanted a relationship and I wanted him to meet my children.
“I discussed it with my partner Amanda, 26, and she was in my corner.
“I posted on a missing persons Facebook page, thinking this would be a great first port of call. I couldn’t believe it when two hours later I had found him!”
Martin tells how on the evening of 2 January, he shared the only picture he had of David to the Missing People Scotland group on Facebook.
He wrote: “Hi guys, I’m looking to see if I can track down a David Burns who is currently living in Stirling.
“He left Kilbirnie about 18 years ago. He is my papa and I would really like to get in touch and meet up with him.
“I’m sure we will both have changed from the below picture but it’s the only one I have.”
He shared an adorable picture of David cradling him when he was just four months old which was shared by more than 400 people.
Just two hours later, Martin received the message he had longed for.
A stranger called Dean McCormick, 26, a machine operator, had spotted the post and recognised David as one of his neighbours.
The address was just a 45-minute drive from Martin’s home.
He said: “I was over the moon. I couldn’t believe someone actually knew him and even better had an address.
“The fact it was the same night as I posted was unbelievable.”
While others might have cautiously called ahead before driving to meet his estranged relative, Martin was too excited to wait.
He insisted that he wanted to meet David in person.
He said: “I decided that I needed to go see him right away.
“Amanda was trying to talk me out of it and said I should call first.
“But I thought: ‘No, I’m just going to go for it. It’s 50/50. He’s either going to hug me or he’s going to close the door on me.'”
Martin, Amanda and their two children, Emily, four, and Aidan, one, piled into their car and drove the 36-mile journey the very next morning.
He said: “I was nervous as I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to get.
“I didn’t know if the door would be open or closed in my face.”
David opened the door and Martin blurted out: “It’s me, Martin.”
David immediately hugged Martin before bursting into tears at the sight of his long lost grandson.
Martin said: “He burst into tears and put his arms around me.
“He met my partner and my kids and we are going to have a long term relationship.
“The power of Facebook brought us together.
“It’s the best New Year’s resolution I’ve ever had – and it took me less than 24 hours to track him down.”
Martin said that the estrangement had begun all those years ago when David remarried and the family did not approve.
He said: “My gran died before I was born and my grandad remarried.
“My family weren’t happy that he remarried.
“He left town – even my dad didn’t hear anything from him. They were never in contact.
“But I thought: ‘This man has never done anything to me.'”
Martin is relieved to have regained a relative although he admitted that his memory of David was misty.
He said: “The only thing I remember is that every year he gave me a Toblerone for Christmas.
“I missed having that grandfather figure. I am so thankful that he’s back in my life.”
David added: “I am really happy that Martin tried his best to find me and a big thanks to Facebook and Dean McCormick for making this happen.
“I can now enjoy the rest of my life with Martin and his young family.”