Disney Cast Member Shocks Woman When Years Later He Reveals He Kept Her Special Memento (Exclusive)

"Across the dining room, I saw the server that made our Disney Cruise so special for our 18-month-old [back in 2019]," Nikki Kennedy tells PEOPLE

<p>Courtesy of Nikki</p> Aaron and Kennedy

Courtesy of Nikki

Aaron and Kennedy's daughter aboard the 2019 cruise

A mom who took a recent Disney cruise reunited with the cast member she met five years ago — and he not only remembered her, but shared that he had kept a photo with her daughter, all these years later.

Nikki Kennedy, 40, recently took a cruise on the Disney Magic, "almost five years exactly from the last time I had been onboard," she tells PEOPLE.

Kennedy, a travel planner based in Central Florida, was taking a trip with others in the travel industry when she spotted a familiar face from her previous trip aboard the vessel, which she took with her family.

"Across the dining room, I saw the server that made our Disney Cruise so special for our 18-month-old [back in 2019]," Kennedy tells PEOPLE.

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Related: Teenager Leaves Parents on Caribbean Island to Get Back to Cruise on Time: 'They Missed the Departure. By a Lot'

The 2019 cruise had been a 10-night voyage on the Mediterranean, during which time Kennedy, her husband and their then 1-year-old daughter had developed a bond with a server named Aaron.

They grew to like Aaron so much that, one night on the 2019 cruise, they had him take a photo with their daughter, Blair. They kept a copy and used a portable photo printer to print another copy for Aaron to keep.

<p>Courtesy of Nikki</p> Aaron and Kennedy's daughter in 2019

Courtesy of Nikki

Aaron and Kennedy's daughter in 2019

When Kennedy saw Aaron again in 2024, she remembered who he was immediately — and, as it turns out, the feeling was mutual.

"I instantly remembered him and went over," Kennedy says.

While she was telling Aaron that she remembered him from her 2019 cruise, he interrupted. "Wait. I know. Kenn ... Tanner Kennedy," he said, referencing her husband's name.

Aaron then told Kennedy that not only did he remember her and her family, but he had kept the photo they printed for him, all these years later, telling her it "gets him through hard days."

"The fact that he remembered us that many years later and held onto the picture we gave him, it was so full circle for me," Kennedy tells PEOPLE, noting that it's people like Aaron who led her to become a travel industry professional.

<p>Courtesy of Nikki</p> Aaron and Kennedy in 2024

Courtesy of Nikki

Aaron and Kennedy in 2024

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"I couldn't believe he remembered us. I had my phone ready to show him a picture to prove I actually knew who he was," she says. "Instead, I ended up showing him the other two kiddos I have had since then, and pictures of my oldest and how much she has grown."

Aaron, she adds, was thrilled to have reunited — and to learn more about how much Kennedy's daughter had grown over the years.

"It was so cute how excited he was to see how much she has changed in five years," she says. "Truly a magical moment."

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