Tina DiLascio calls it "being in the right place at the right time."
The New Jersey resident was picking up documents Tuesday from a New York City office building, had gotten lost earlier in the day, paid too much for parking and was having an all around rough afternoon.
Then the "man of the hour," as she calls Justin Timberlake, came walking into this very same New York City building as part of a press tour.
"I started screaming like a teenager," she said.
Timberlake was on a tight schedule and turning down all requests from fans for pictures or autographs until DiLascio told Timberlake her daughter, Giana, had survived brain surgery and was a Make-a-Wish kid.
"He stopped, turned around, came over to me and said, 'Where is she?"" she said.
DiLascio quickly ran outside where her 13-year-old daughter, who's a huge Timberlake fan, was waiting.
"I thought it was a joke," Giana said. "I couldn't believe it. I'm still in shock. We talked about the VMAs, which I thought he was great in."
Giana DiLascio, who had to have surgery last year to fix a blockage in her brain, said what happened next was the biggest surprise of all.
"Security was saying no pics," the straight-A student said. "He looked at them and then my phone and said, "I'm going to take a photo.""
Giana made the picture her phone's screen saver.
For Tina DiLascio, who said Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of the family's return from its Make-a-Wish trip, said she was especially surprised at the humbleness of a man who had just received a Michael Jackson Vanguard Award at the MTV VMAs for a lifetime of groundbreaking music.
"It's just about paying it forward," the ecstatic mother said. "It may sound cheesy, but we thought her condition was a death sentence, and it ended up being a life sentence."
Giana is doing fine, her mother said. Now, after meeting her idol, all the girl wants is to give someone that same amazing feeling she experienced herself.
"I just want to change someone's life too, like [Justin] did mine," she said.