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Today's Hoda Kotb left in tears during emotional encounter: 'I literally started crying' 

The Today host opened up about the emotional reunion this week

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Jessica Finn
Jessica FinnSenior US WriterNew York
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Hoda Kotb shared an emotional reunion with an old boss who she ran into while out for a jog in New York's Central Park.

During her morning show, Today with Hoda and Jenna, the host explained that she was out in the park this week, when she saw a familiar, albeit masked face.

"I was going for a run in Central Park and I was all masked up & had my hat on… and I looked and there was a man who had his mask on and he was walking his dog, and I knew that face."

MORE: Today's Hoda Kotb reveals emotional family moment during pandemic

WATCH: Today's Hoda Kotb opens up about horrific parenting shame

"It was Neal Shapiro, the guy who had hired me at Dateline. I will tell you right now, I was not good enough. I was not good enough. I did not have the qualifications - I was not as good as any of the correspondents and for some reason that guy Neal Shapiro took a risk," Hoda fondly recalled. 

"And he worked with me, like no you gotta work on this and you gotta work on that." When Hoda locked eyes with him, her early career memories came flooding back.

MORE: Hoda Kotb moves fans to tears with 'heartwarming' new post

READ: Today show host Hoda Kotb shares stunning photo from special wedding

hoda kotb clear bright© Photo: Getty Images

Hoda Kotb has been on TV since 1986

"And there he stood, in the park. I thought to myself probably 20 plus years after he hired me that I get to do this job. He looked at me and I literally started crying."

I looked at him and said 'Neal? I write about you in my journal…' and he was like 'Okay…'"

"I was so moved by seeing him standing there. You don't know who's going to change your life or give you a shot when you don't know if you're ready and he did," Hoda added.

hoda kotb jenna bush hager© Photo: Getty Images

Hoda opened up to her co-host Jenna Bush Hager

It meant so much to the host to run into her boss that gave her her first break in national news. She continued: "New York is so weirdly big you never know who you're going to run into, and sometimes the weirdest things happen."

"The boss who hired me 20 plus years ago, who took a chance on me, the kid from local news. Anyone else would have said you're just average, come back to us in five years. And he said, 'Let me give this kid a shot.'"

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