Grieving man’s kind gesture to stranger’s son: “Buy this boy all 3 dinosaurs”

toddler Owen Hacker at Target store

A mum was shopping at Target with her little boy when a stranger’s kind gesture pretty much restored her faith in humanity (and reminded her that not everyone is a creep!).

this momma just cried in the middle of Target. We were at target waiting on Grammi and we found some dinosaurs. Owen…

Posted by Alyssa Hacker on Saturday, 16 September 2017

Approach with caution

Let’s face it, television, movies and media coverage constantly confirm that strangers are a clear and present danger to our children – and imply that men who are friendly to children may have sinister motivations. This can leave parents on high alert, anxious and ever vigilant.

Take, Alyssa Hacker for instance. Granted, Alyssa was a little bit concerned when an older male customer in a Target store responded to her toddler’s cheerful “hi!” and began playing dinosaurs with 18-month-old Owen. But she quickly realised that there was something special at play.

This was a chance to connect kindly with a friendly man – who turned out to be a grieving grandfather – rather than being cautious. It got Alyssa thinking about the ways we protect ourselves and kids from people we don’t know, and what we might be missing out on when we have our defences up.

“This momma just cried in the middle of Target,” Alyssa admitted, revealing she was not the only one in tears.

“We were at Target waiting on Grammi and we found some dinosaurs. 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.”

“Hey, sweet boy!”

The surprised man was heartened by Owen’s cheery greeting and was equally friendly, in response.

“He turned around and said “hey, sweet boy!” He proceeded to play dinosaurs with Owen and with this crazy world we live in I was a little hesitant as to how close he was with Owen,” Alyssa said. Her worries were quickly – and tearfully – wiped away, though.

“The man got his wallet out and pulled a $20 out, he put it in Owen’s 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.”

A delighted Owen yelled “thank you!” after his new friend, and a touched Alyssa wiped her own tears away, snapped a photo of her son and shared the whole exchange to Facebook.

“There is still some good in this world,” she wrote in the caption of her story, confirming that on this occasion connecting with a stranger was a bolstering experience for everyone involved.


Do you find it hard to balance being friendly and open to others, whilst looking out for your child’s safety?

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