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Grieving grandfather’s heartfelt gesture in Target reminds us not to take life for granted

Old Man Hands


Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/25/17

A random encounter at the supermarket brings tears and gratitude to a mom and her son.

It’s impossible to know how others really feel when a loved one dies. While we can imagine their pain, we cannot know how their heart is coping with the loss. As is so often the case with grief, people cope with it — or not — in a myriad of ways. And recently, we got to hear how one granddad was managing with the loss of a tiny loved one.

Last week, Alyssa Hacker, a young mom from Oklahoma, shared on Facebook an incident that happened on a shopping trip to her local Target. Accompanied by her young son, Owen, Hacker explained how as the two were waiting for “Grammie” to join them, Owen had picked up three cuddly dinosaurs. The mother and son were trying to decide which toy to choose when Owen happened to say “Hi” to an older man who was walking close by.

Read more:
What’s the Best Way To Help A Neighbor Who’s Grieving?

The man took this as a cue to strike up a conversation and have a little dinosaur battle with the toddler. Although Hacker was slightly reticent at first, due to the “crazy world we live in,” she got a shock when the man popped a $20 bill in her son’s shirt pocket. “I just lost my 2-year-old grandson last week,” he simply explained. “You take this money and buy this boy all three dinosaurs.” He then “rubbed Owens back, wiped his tears, and walked off.”

Cue the ugly tears.

Owen shouted a “thank you” after the man, who responded with a “Boomer Sooner!” — an Oklahoma Sooner greeting used between fans. Hacker herself was left in tears, and most probably desperate to cling on to her son in gratitude that was he safe and sound. Hacker posted that “there is still some good in this world.” Yet there is so much more to this grandfather’s generous gesture.

Although we don’t know anything about the man, or the circumstances surrounding his grandson’s loss, we can only marvel that in his grief he was able to give his time and attention, as well as the money, to a little boy who reminded him of what he once had. No wonder he was in tears. We pray that he finds some peace in his grief and thank him for the positive reminder that life is for cherishing and that we should never take it for granted.

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