A four-year-old has become best friends with an 82-year-old widower after meeting him in a supermarket.
Little Norah Wood was picking up cupcakes on her birthday when she was drawn to the elderly gentleman, whose wife, Mary, had passed away a few months earlier.
Her mother and writer, Tara, has since shared an account of their precious unlikely friendship on her Facebook page, capturing the hearts of people all over the world.
In her first post in September she wrote: ‘She seemed magnetically drawn to this man. Her face lit up like the sun, she waved excitedly, and said, ‘Hi old person! It's my birthday today!’
‘He was furrow browed but his expression softened when he realised 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.’
After going their separate ways, Norah asked if she could have a photo taken with the man, so her mum tracked him down in the bread aisle.
‘He looked confused and then stunned and then delighted,’ Ms Wood said. ‘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.’
Her mum revealed that remarkably, just the day before Norah met Mr Dan, she said: ‘I like old peoples the best because they walk slow like I walks slow and they has soft skin like I has soft skin. They’re all going to die soon so I'm going to love 'em all up before they is died.’
After Ms Wood’s first Facebook post, a friend of Mr Dan’s reached out to let her know that his wife had recently died and she hadn’t seen him this happy in a long time. So the mum-of-seven took her daughter to visit him at home.
‘Norah brought him a framed picture of the two of them in the grocery store, pictures she coloured (he put them on his fridge!), and a bag full of pastries and Butterfingers,’ she wrote. ‘Sweet Mr Dan is going to be part of our family whether he likes it or not (he likes it).’
Days later she shared a photo of Norah napping while clinging to a photo of herself and Mr Dan.
‘I cry every time they're together,’ she said. ‘Their friendship is so pure and simple and perfect. Norah has been worried about Mr Dan being alone. She wanted to know if we could buy him a dog because dogs make everything better.
‘I told her that we could buy him a stuffed puppy and maybe it would keep him company and make him feel happy. We popped over to his house for an unexpected visit to bring him the stuffed puppy. He was so happy to see us and he and Norah just hugged and snuggled and giggled.
‘Get this, though - he had a stuffed bear for her. He had no idea we were coming but he already had it in anticipation of our next lunch date - they had stuffed animals for each other!
‘He told me the most amazing thing, it took my breath. He said that he hadn't had an uninterrupted night of sleep for the past several months. 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 and I cried again.’
When Mr Dan turned 82 on October 20, Norah gave him a gift with a heart on it.
And a week later Norah brought him a blanket ‘so he wont be cold in the nights’ and he gave her a beautiful bangle with a purple stone because he knew it was her favourite colour.
Ms Wood said: ‘It was delightful as always.’ She added: ‘Can I ask you to take a few minutes to check in on an elderly neighbour or call your grandparents or just let older people know that you see them, you hear them, and that they matter?’
Mr Dan told CBS News that Norah was the ‘light that just lit me up’ that day.
‘They came by the house, and sure enough, she grabbed me and hugged me like there was no tomorrow,’ said Mr Dan. ‘It was one of those days that I’m on my own little private pity party, and I’m feeling sorry for myself and doubting my beliefs and it obviously changed my opinion that day and lifted my spirits to heights that I hadn’t known for a long time.
‘If I didn’t have anything else to do the rest of my life, I have her to love.’