September 28 is a special day for Norah Wood. Not only is it her birthday, but it is also the day when she made an unlikely new friend.
Celebrating her fourth birthday with her mum, Tara, the two were in the supermarket in Augusta, Georgia in the U.S. picking up some cupcakes when Norah spotted an elderly man – 82-year-old Dan Petersen.
The spritely pre-schooler stood up in the shopping trolley she was was sitting in and called out: “Hi old person! It’s my birthday today!”
Tara was initially embarrassed until she saw this seemingly expressionless man’s face completely soften.
After some chit-chat between the two strangers, Norah suddenly decided she wanted a photograph with Dan.
“‘You want to take a photo with me?'” he replied, shocked.
“His face lit up,” Tara explains. “He looked like a completely different person.”
But it was what Dan said next, lips were quivering, that brought Tara to tears.
“‘Miss Norah, you made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time'.”
Later that day, Tara posted the happy snaps to her own Facebook page. Then, soon after, a woman who knows Dan reached out to her.
“[The woman] said when [Dan's] wife died back in March, he sunk into a depression,” Tara remembers.
“She said, 'That’s the first time I’ve seen that man smile since his wife died.'”
Tara was able to get Dan’s phone number and dialled him straight away.
When he answered, Tara says, “He just burst into tears.”
“He said, ‘I haven’t stopped thinking about that little girl. She just inspired me.'”
Tara and Norah then invited Dan out to lunch, and, upon dropping him home, the three got chatting.
“He had been so lonely,” Tara says.
“He’s had a fascinating life. He’s had some tragedy in his life. He was just so grateful to have someone listen to him.”
“The whole time, Norah was just curled up in his lap like she’s known him forever.”
Tara and Norah visit Dan regularly; Norah even helped Dan celebrate his 82nd birthday just last week.
It’s stories like these that remind you just how important love and kindness truly are…
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