The Bachelorette's Zac Clark experienced the magic of the holiday season when he encountered his real-life "angel" this week.
The New Jersey native, 36, revealed on The Bachelorette earlier this month that after suffering from a brain tumor just after college, he started taking pain medication and heavily consuming alcohol.
He realized his substance abuse needed to be addressed after a 2011 incident in which he tried to cash a forged check from his dad's account at a bank. Instead of calling the police, the teller called Clark's father, and Clark proceeded to seek help in rehab.
Today, Clark is sober and helps run Release Recovery, an addiction treatment center and transitional living facility he co-founded in Westchester, New York. And he recently tracked down that bank teller, Rhonda Jackson, sharing the moving experience with his followers on Instagram Tuesday.
"I was reunited with my Angel," the addiction specialist wrote. "It was one of the most powerful experiences I have ever had. She still works at the same bank! I met my hero, I met the woman who saved my life. I got to talk to Rhonda about her children, her faith and her passion for making beautiful prom dresses (you better show her some love @house_of_divine_style .)"
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Clark said that Jackson remembered the day they first met "vividly" and recalled the nonjudgemental attitude she displayed.
"Rhonda didn't know me, didn't care what I looked like and didn't judge me. She just knew that I needed help as I tried to cash a forged check so I could get some quick money and keep getting high," he wrote.
"Rather than call the cops, Rhonda called my dad (whose name was on the check as the account owner)," he continued. "3 days prior, I had stolen a handful of checks from my father's desk and left without a word to anyone. For days, my family looked for me but no luck."
Calling Clark's dad instead of the authorities "not only told my father that I was still alive, but where I could be found," the Bachelorette finalist continued. "He rushed down to the bank just in time before I disappeared back to the streets. Two days later I was in treatment getting help, and the rest is history."
The reality star ultimately encouraged everyone to show kindness to strangers, just as Jackson did to him almost a decade ago.
"In a world that is filled seemingly with so much apathy, Rhonda Jackson taught me a valuable life lesson," he said. "Always treat people with love, always believe and always do the right thing. You never know whose life you might be saving."
"Thank you, Rhonda for saving my life," he concluded. "There are no coincidences."
The Bachelorette concludes with new episodes Monday and Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact the SAMHSA substance abuse helpline at 1-800-662-HELP.
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