Grieving Grandpa’s Gesture To Toddler In Target Brings The Internet To Tears

by Christine Organ
Image via Alyssa Hacker

A stranger gives a toddler $20 in Target for the most heartbreaking reason

We all know that Target is a magical place. But sometimes the magic is more than finding a couple of chic throw pillows on clearance or a cute dress with pockets for $20. For mom Alyssa Hacker, the magic came through the generosity and kindness of a stranger – and in sharing the story, Hacker is spreading that magic all around the Internet with a poignant reminder we all need right now.

“This momma just cried in the middle of Target,” Hacker began in a Facebook post over the weekend. While crying in Target isn’t necessarily anything out of the ordinary (who hasn’t felt like crying during a toddler meltdown in the dairy aisle?), it’s the cause of Hacker’s tears that are really are something special.

“We were at target waiting on Grammi and we found some dinosaurs,” she explained. “Owen grabbed all 3 and we were trying to pick out which one he wanted when Owen abruptly yelled ‘HI’ at this older man walking past us.”

When the man turned around, said “hey sweet boy” and proceeded to play dinosaurs with her son Owen, Hacker was understandably a little uncertain and stand off-ish.

“Because of the crazy stories I see on Facebook daily, I’m usually in protective mommy mode,” she told Scary Mommy. “I had a peace about it, but stayed aware.”

But as this man – a stranger – played with her son, he grabbed his wallet out and pulled out a twenty-dollar bill.

“He put it in Owens pocket on his shirt and said ‘I just lost my 2-year-old grandson last week. You take this money and buy this boy all three dinosaurs’ and rubbed Owens back, wiped his tears and walked off.” Aaaand…cue the ugly tears.

“[Owen’s] the life of the party,” she told us. “He loved the attention and ate it up.”

Hacker told us Owen, an only child, can be a bit ornery sometimes (as all toddlers can be), but that he loves to blow kisses, give bear hugs, and be outside.

“I’m glad Owen was able to bless others through this story,” Hacker told Scary Mommy. “My prayer for Owen has always been to be the light to the world and to show god’s love. I think he has done that pretty well so far.”

Hacker wrote that after Owen thanked the man, he turned around, and yelled “Boomer Sooner!” – a popular greeting between Oklahoma Sooner fans (Hacker was wearing an Oklahoma Sooners sweatshirt at the time) – before walking away.

Hacker told us she hasn’t seen or talked to the man since their chance encounter in Target, but we hope he’s seen the positive reaction his generosity sparked. Perhaps it will help ease his grief a bit. The post has been liked more than 294,000 times, shared nearly 115,000 times, and there are tens of thousands of comments filled with words of compassion and empathy.

Because as Hacker wrote, “There is still some good in this world.”