4-Year-Old At Grocery Store Calls A Widower 'Old,' His Response..
Get the tissues ready!
Every parent cringes at the thought of their child blurting out something totally honest and unfiltered to a stranger. Tara’s daughter, Norah, was very frank with an elderly man they met in the grocery store one day, directly calling him “old”.
What happened next was beyond what any parent would expect, and permanently changed several lives.
Freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom Tara Wood got a bit of a shock the day before her daughter Norah’s fourth birthday. The two were in a parking lot when Norah spotted an elderly person ambling outside the car, and cautioned Tara to watch out.
Norah explained to Tara that she likes people like that. “’I like old peoples the best ‘cos they walk slow like I walk slow and they has soft skin like I has soft skin,’” Tara writes, doing as clear an impression as possible of little Norah. “’They all gonna die soon so I’m gonna love ‘em all up before they is died.’”
Though surprising, Norah’s words left a mark on Tara’s heart, and prompted her to use the quote as her new Facebook status update.
The next day, Norah’s birthday, the mother-daughter duo stopped at the grocery store on the way home from pre-school to buy some cupcakes.
It was there that Norah spotted another elderly person, and took an immediate liking to him.
“While I was distracted,” recalls Tara, “…Norah was busy standing up in the cart, excitedly waving and gleefully proclaiming, ‘Hi old person! It’s my birfday today!’
“The man was elderly, stone-faced, and furrow-browed. However, before I could ‘shush’ her for calling him an ‘old person’ or ask the Earth to swallow me whole, he stopped and turned to her.”
The man appeared to be completely unbothered by Norah’s words. He simply said, “’Well, hello little lady! And how old are you today?’”
The two got to chatting, and after wishing her a happy birthday, the man continued his shopping.
It could have been a one-time encounter, and sweet story for Tara to tell at Norah’s 21st birthday, but fate had other ideas.
They bumped into the man again a few aisles over, and this time, Norah wanted a photo with him for her birthday.
“His expression rapidly morphed from confused to stunned to delighted.” It was apparent that nobody had asked him for a photo in a long while, and he accepted the offer immediately.
Afterwards, the man introduced himself as “Dan”. Once more, Dan and Norah chatted together as if they had decades to catch up on, and though they were blocking an aisle, the surrounding shoppers didn’t mind one bit.
When Tara thanked the man for his time, tears came to his eyes. “’No, thank YOU. This has been the best day I’ve had in a long time. You’ve made me so happy, Miss Norah.’”
Feeling emotional from the encounter, Tara detailed the events on her Facebook page. Amazingly, one of her readers recognized Mr. Dan, and let Tara know that his wife had passed away not long before. He’d been lonely, and the reader was sure that meeting Norah would have been life-changing for him.
Naturally, Tara asked for his phone number and gave him a call.
Tara and Norah visited Mr. Dan’s house, and it was obvious that he was excited for their visit. “He had gotten a haircut, shaved, and was wearing slacks and dress shoes. He looked ten years younger,” says Tara. “He’d set out a child’s table, blank paper, and crayons out for Norah. He asked if she’d draw some pictures for him to display on his refrigerator. She happily agreed and went right to work.”
After lunch, Mr. Dan cut Norah a rose from his garden. “She keeps that rose, now dry as a bone, in a Ziploc bag under her pillow.”
Though seventy-eight years apart, it’s clear that Norah and Mr. Dan have a beautiful connection. “Norah asks about Mr. Dan every day,” says Tara. “She worries about him. She wonders if he’s lonely, or cold, or has cheese for his sandwiches. She wants him to be okay. She wants him to feel loved.”
Tara and Norah now aim to see Mr. Dan once a week, and he’s part of their family. Mr. Dan has admitted that meeting Norah has changed his life, and given him the first peaceful sleep he’s had in a long time.
Norah taught Tara a valuable lesson through this all. “Sometimes talking to strangers can lead to beautiful new beginnings,” she says.
This is definitely something to remember the next time you’re feeling down about the state of humanity, and apprehensive about approaching a stranger!
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