Tara Woods took her four-year-old daughter, Norah, to the grocery store to buy cupcakes for her birthday.
What started as a routine errand run became a life-changing day for their family.
The day before, Norah had told her mother that she was particularly fond of elderly people. They were a lot like her, she said — they walked pretty slowly and their skin was soft. In a sincere moment, Norah told her mom, “ I’m gonna love ‘em all up before they is died.”
Tara was so moved by her daughter’s sweetness that she shared the anecdote on her Facebook page.
The next day at the store, Tara was grabbing some items off the shelf when she heard her daughter call out, “Hi old person! It’s my birfday today!” She immediately turned to apologize, but when she saw the elderly man, her stomach tightened. His face was rigid and his brow furrowed.
The man, “Mr. Dan,” gave a response that would change all of their lives forever. Here’s the rest of the story, as told by Tara:
“His expression softened as he replied, ‘Well hello little lady! And how old are you today?’ They chatted for a few minutes, he wished her ‘Happy Birthday,’ and we went our separate ways.
We found the man a couple of aisles over and I approached him. ‘Excuse me, sir? This is Norah and she’d like to know if you’d take a photo with her for her birthday?’
His expression rapidly morphed from confused to stunned to delighted. He took a step back, steadied himself on his shopping cart, and placed his free hand on his chest.
‘A photo? With me?’ he asked.
‘Yes, suh, for my birfday!’ Norah pleaded.”
“And so he did. I pulled out my iPhone and they posed together. She placed her soft hand on top of his soft hand. He wordlessly stared at her with twinkling eyes as she kept his hand in hers and studied his skinny veins and weathered knuckles.
She kissed the top of his hand and then placed it on her cheek. He beamed. I asked his name and he told us to call him ‘Dan.’
We were blocking other shoppers and they didn’t care. There was magic happening in the grocery store that day and we could all feel it. Norah and Mr. Dan sure didn’t notice they were chatting away like long lost friends.
After a few minutes, I thanked Mr. Dan for taking the time to spend a bit of his day with us.”
“He teared up and said, ‘No, thank YOU. This has been the best day I’ve had in a long time. You’ve made me so happy, Miss Norah.’ They hugged again and we walked away. Norah watched him until he was out of view.
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