Buddine Bullinger, 56, has worked at the Walmart in Dickinson, ND, for 25 years—and for many of those years she greeted John Maixner as he came in to shop, never suspecting Maixner was her brother. Bullinger and four siblings of various ages were all given up for adoption at birth and ended up in different families, never knowing about one another. But Bullinger knew her biological mother's name, and last March, her obituary appeared in a local newspaper—and mentioned another daughter, whom Bullinger eventually was able to contact.
She and her newfound sister are six years apart in age, and "we wondered if there were other siblings between us," Bullinger says. They got in touch with the adoption agency and discovered a brother in California, a sister in Tennessee—and Maixner, WSBT reports. As soon as Maixner saw Bullinger's photo, he says, "I couldn't believe it. All I could say was, 'I know this lady. I've seen her for years at the Walmart.'" Adds Bullinger, "He looked familiar to me, because he was there quite often." The five siblings all got together, and now talk on the phone each week, and Maixner even spent Christmas with Bullinger's family. The brother and sister often have lunch nowadays—at the Subway inside the Walmart.