A 4-year-old girl called a man “old” in the grocery store, but it didn’t end the way you might have expected.
Of course, for the story to really make sense you have to understand that Norah Wood (a just-turned-4-year old) LOVES old people. She’d just that day told her mother (Tara): “I like 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…”
Tara stopped by the grocery store to pick up birthday cupcakes Norah, and while she was distracted, you probably wouldn’t have been surprised that she stood up in the cart, waved her arms and said, “Hi old person! It’s my birfday today!” You might have been mortified, if she was your child, but it’s what you might expect from a 4-year old. Cute, right?
Instead of taking offense, Mr. Dan replied, “Well hello little lady! And how old are you today?” The two chatted for a few minutes, and then parted ways. The episode may have ended there, except Norah wanted to take a picture with Mr. Dan “for her birfday.”
Again, you’d have expected some hesitancy to approach the guy again. He was nice the first time, but not all strangers appreciate (or continue to indulge) the antics of a precocious 4-year-old girl, right?
Well, Tara didn’t need to worry… it went on as seamlessly as it had begun. As Tara says: “There was magic happening in the grocery store that day and we could all feel it. Norah and Mr. Dan sure didn’t notice [that they were blocking the aisle] they were chatting away like long lost friends.”
The Rest of the Story: A Stranger Becomes Family
When Tara posted the story and pictures to Facebook, a local friend contacted her to share that Mr. Dan was a widower (his wife had passed just a few months prior). He was lonely, and the friend was sure that Norah, with her beautiful, lovable smile, had touched his heart.
And, Tara took the next step. She asked for Mr. Dan’s phone number, and then she called him to set up a visit. With his hair cut and clean shaven, “He looked ten years younger,” she said. Then, he asked Norah to draw pictures for him to display on his fridge, he shared his nuggets (let her finish them), and he cut her a rose from the bush outside the door (taking care to remove every thorn).
After that visit (and the next one), Norah worried about Mr. Dan. In her childish imagination, she wanted to know if he was lonely or cold or needed cheese. For his part, he told Tara, “Norah has healed me.” He was sleeping better, and he obviously looked forward to every one of her visits.
As Tara says, “Seventy-eight years separate these two people in age. Somehow, their hearts and souls seem to recognize each other from long ago.” They’re family now, and nothing seems likely to separate them.