Nate Berkus' mother, Nancy Golden

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On the hilltop, someone miraculously had a cell phone that worked. Nate had a turn on the phone. He left an emotional message for his mother, Nancy Golden, which she says she'll never forget or erase.

"Mother, it's me," Nate said. "Listen to me very carefully, okay? There's been a horrible natural disaster in Sri Lanka. I am fine. I don't have a passport and I don't have anything, but there are many people here from different countries and we've already alerted the embassy. Fernando, I can't find still and it happened hours ago, so I don't know where he is. But I just want you to know that I am fine and that I will call when I have an opportunity. I borrowed the one cell phone that works from the government here. Okay? I love you."

So how did Nate's mother respond? "I was really in shock because I hadn't heard about the tsunami at this point," she says. "I was in an airport. And so I get this call and I'm thinking, 'What has he survived? What is he alive from?' My husband's watching me take this call and I have no blood left in my body and I don't even know who to ask. I saw some man with a laptop and I said, 'Can you tell me if you know anything about Sri Lanka?' And he said, 'Yes, there's been the largest natural disaster in a hundred years there ... a tsunami.' So I said to my husband, '[Nate] survived a tsunami? Oh, my God. I don't believe it.'"