Tara Wood sucked in her breath after her four-year-old daughter called a senior man, who was also a widower, “old.” Because the toddler’s birthday was coming, she appreciated people with more life experience. And now that she was a big girl, she “likes old peoples the best ‘cos they walk slow like I walk slow and they has soft skin like I has soft skin.
They all gonna die soon so I’m gonna love ‘em all up before they is died.” Tara couldn’t help but love her daughter for her big heart. But when her daughter, Norah, called the stranger “old,” mom couldn’t help but feel ashamed. But the man’s reaction left her swimming in joy.
Before the grocery incident, Tara heard her daughter explain how she loved old people.
“She went on to explain that she has a soft spot for mature folk,” Tara wrote.
Norah shouted at the man, “Hi, old person! It’s my ‘birfday’ today!” Tara wrote in a now viral Facebook post. The “stone-faced and furrowed-brow” grump didn’t react to her. And he certainly didn’t show excitement about how she called him old. Tara wanted to apologize for her daughter’s rudeness. But she chose not to “suppress” the girl’s creative expression. And the old man didn’t want to squelch her expression either.
“If he was troubled by my no-filter-having child, he didn’t show it. His expression softened as he replied. ‘Well, hello little lady! And how old are you today?’”
Tara was overjoyed to see that her daughter did not offend the man. Instead, he enjoyed the attention.
Tara said, “They chatted for a few minutes. He wished her a happy birthday. And we went our separate ways.”
But the encounter was long from done.
“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?’”
The simple question brought life back into the man’s face. He was shocked. He hadn’t been shown such kindness since before his wife died.
“And so he did. I pulled out my iPhone, and they posed tighter. 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 him his name, and he told us to call him ‘Dan.’”
Tara and Norah had a lot of fun meeting Dan at the grocery store. Before they parted, Dan told Norah how happy he was to meet her on her birthday.
“They hugged again, and we walked away. Norah watched him until he was out of view.”
The happy encounter brought tears to Tara’s eyes.
Tara posted about Norah’s encounter with Dan. Someone contacted her and told her that they knew Dan. Tara got his phone number and set up a playdate for him and Norah.