When 4-year-old Norah spotted an elderly man while grocery shopping with her mom, neither knew they soon would be making a new friend!
Norah and her mom, Tara Wood, were shopping for cupcakes for Norah’s birthday when she saw the elderly gentleman walk by. Wood says she doesn’t know why, but Norah was instantly drawn to the man. What happened next reminds us how unexpected encounters can enrich all of our lives!
Here’s what Wood wrote about their first meeting:
“We made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up cupcakes for Norah’s birthday.
“She was sitting in one of those carts that look like a car or truck or whatever when an older gentleman walked by. We’d passed several other elderly customers but she seemed magnetically drawn to this man.”
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“Her face lit up like the sun, she waved excitedly, and said ‘Hi old person! It’s my birfday today!’
“He was furrow browed but his expression softened when he realized she was speaking to him.
“‘Well hello little lady! And how old are you today?’ he asked. They chatted for a few seconds and it was super adorable.
“We said ‘goodbye’ and carried on shopping.
“A few minutes later she turned and asked ‘Can I take a picture with the old man for my birfday?'”
“Uh, it was the cutest damn thing ever.
“I knew he couldn’t have gone very far so we back tracked until we found him.
“‘Excuse me, sir? She’d like to know if you’d take a photo with her for her birthday?’ I asked.”
“Sometimes talking to strangers turns into the most beauty full thing in the world.
“He looked confused and then stunned and then delighted.
“‘A photo? With me?’ he asked.
“‘Yes suh! For my birfday!’ Norah exclaimed.
“And so they posed together and then they hugged each other like they were long lost friends.”
“We thanked ‘Mr. Dan’ for taking time to spend a few minutes 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, Ms. Norah.'”
Wood was so moved by the exchange between Mr. Dan and her daughter that she went home and posted the photos and story on Facebook. She received thousands of positive responses and one of them was from a friend of Mr. Dan who let her know that Mr. Dan had recently lost his wife and that she hadn’t seen him look this happy in a very long time.
It was through this person that Wood and Norah were able to reconnect with Mr. Dan after their impromptu visit at the grocery store.
When Wood and Norah reached out to Mr. Dan again, he was more than happy to have a visit from his newfound friend. Several days after they met, Norah and her mom were on their way to his house.
“Norah brought him a framed picture of the two of them in the grocery store, pictures she colored (he put them on his fridge!), and a bag full of pastries and Butterfingers…if he doesn’t already have diabetes, he’s about to,” wrote Wood. “Sweet Mr. Dan is going to be part of our family whether he likes it or not (he likes it).”
“They came by the house, and sure enough, she grabbed me and hugged me like there was no tomorrow,” Dan Peterson (aka Mr. Dan) told CBS News.
Since their first visit, Norah has been visiting Mr. Dan regularly and he’s very grateful for the company. The 82-year-old says that the day he met Norah he was feeling sorry for himself and that meeting the youngster lifted his spirits.
Mr. Dan made sure to let Wood know.
“He said that he hadn’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep for the past several months,” Wood told the news station. “Sadness and anxiety had made his mind wander at night, but since meeting Norah, he has slept soundly every single night. He said she healed him.”
For Wood, she believes that meeting Mr. Dan was a message from above. “I can only assume there was some divine intervention or stars aligning or she was nudged by the universe. I know we’re all better because of it, though,” said Wood.
The final message Wood wants to share with everyone? Take the time to talk to older people.
“Do yourselves a favor, friends – take the time to talk to older people. I think that sometimes we look right through them – like they’re not even there. But you know what? They matter. They’re valuable. They want to be seen and heard. They want to know they’ve not been forgotten. Let’s take good care of them and love ’em all up.”
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