Grab some tissues! The story behind a four-year-old girl befriending an 82-year-old stranger is a story that will pull on your heartstrings and make you want to be a better human being. Tara Wood, the young girl’s mother, documented the whole experience on Today.
It all started when Norah and her mother, Tara, went to the grocery store to pick up cupcakes for the girl’s fourth birthday. Tara was momentarily mortified when Norah turned to an elderly man and said, “Hi, old person,” before telling him it was her “birfday.” But the man didn’t mind. “Well hello little lady! And how old are you today,” he replied.
After a little chat, they said goodbye, but Norah told her mother she wanted a picture with the man. So, when they saw him checking out, Tara went over to him and asked if he minded taking a picture with her daughter. He happily agreed.
As Tara recalls, “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.”
They learned that the man’s name was Dan. And before going their separate ways, Mr. Dan told Norah that because of her, today was one of the best days he’s had in a long time.
Moved by her daughter’s kind heart, Tara wanted to share the story with friends and family. She posted the picture of Norah and Mr. Dan on her Facebook page and recounted what happened. To her surprise, someone messaged her saying they knew who Mr. Dan was. As it turns out, his wife Mary had passed away earlier that year, and he had been very lonely since.
Tara got Mr. Dan’s phone number and decided to ask if Norah could visit. Of course, Mr. Dan said yes. Tara remembers that first day at Mr. Dan’s house vividly. “He had gotten a haircut, shaved, and was wearing slacks and dress shoes,” she shared. “He looked ten years younger.” Mr. Dan had even set up a kid’s table with paper and crayons for Norah.
They spent three hours with Mr. Dan that day, and when they finally left, he cut a rose from his bush for Norah. “She keeps that rose, now dry as a bone, in a Ziploc bag under her pillow,” Tara said.
Since then, not a day goes by that Norah doesn’t ask her mother about Mr. Dan, worrying if he is lonely. But that wasn’t the last time Norah and Mr. Dan would spend time together. They have become best friends and Norah and Tara go see him at least once a week, even it’s just for 15 minutes.
Norah brought joy and peace into Mr. Dan’s life. He explained to Tara that after meeting Norah, he was finally able to get a good night sleep — something he hadn’t gotten since his wife passed. “Norah has healed me,” Mr. Dan told her. According to Tara, he is now a part of the Wood’s family, even spending holidays together.
“Seventy-eight years separate these two people in age,” Tara wrote. “Somehow, their hearts and souls seem to recognize each other from long ago.”