Amarillo father and daughter hope social media will help reunite more families
Wed, 04 Jan 2012 20:43:07 GMT —
Social media helped to reunite an Amarillo father with his runaway daughter and now they both are hopeful more families can be brought together the same way.
"I feel like it should be used for the greater good," Ray Wilson said in an interview with Pronews 7. "I want to use this momentum to help other families find their kids."
Numerous tweets and Facebook messages have been sent to Ray full of positive feedback about the idea. Ray said he's unsure of exactly what they'll do but that he wants to make sure it's capitalized on.
Ray's daughter, Haley, 17 years old, dissapeared the day after Christmas, Dec. 26. He said he woke up to a note saying she ran away and to not look for her.
Instead of listening to the note, Ray took to the powers of social media and posted to his Facebook page and Twitter account.
Shortly after, he created a video that went viral. Scroll down to see it.
One week later, the video has nearly one million views and it's continued to capture the attention of thousands throughout the world.
On Tuesday, Ray tweeted that his daughter had been found. He said she had been pulled over by the Carlsbad, Calif. Police Department and was taken to a facility for runaways.
Ray immediately made travel arrangements to get to California to reunite with his daughter.
"When I saw her, it was absolute relief that she was okay and healthy," Ray said. "I really needed to give her a big hug."
The first thing Ray asked his daughter was if she was okay. Haley said she was fine.
"She's very humbled and grateful for all the people who have shared their love and prayed for her," said Ray. "It's a little bit overwhelming but she wants to do something positive with this."
Ray said social media played a pivotal role in this positive outcome of this story. He received numerous sightings via Twitter and Facebook. Many of those led him to believe Haley was in California.
Haley said police saw her sleeping in her car and that's how she was found.
"Thank you to all the people that prayed and supported, tweeted and posted and shared and spammed all their friends to get us to this point," Ray and Haley told Pronews 7.
Thursday morning, the entire Wilson family was reunited in Amarillo.
Ray's pleas using social media have caused some to think twice about the story. Ray said it was the first thing he thought to do to get his daughter home.
"I guess I understand that people are skeptical," he said. "I think there are enough people who know the truth and people who know my heart and Haley's heart."
So, why did Haley leave?
"There's never a good excuse to hurt those you love, but I left Amarillo because of myself," Haley said on Twitter. "I wasn't making good decisions but I wasn't stopping myself either. I left so my decisions wouldn't hurt those I love. I'm sorry I hurt so many people by leaving but I was hoping that pain would leave with me."
Haley said she was planning to travel to Mexico. She had been sleeping in her car at rest stops and other places all along the way
The reunion has sparked even more attention, with hundreds tweeting about it, searching for ways to better utilize social media to reunite more families.