Grieving dad's heartbreaking birthday surprise

Photo: Léá Ní Bhríaín / Facebook
Photo: Léá Ní Bhríaín / Facebook 

A woman in Ireland got the surprise of her life when she went to pick up a cake for her one-year-old niece's birthday and discovered it had already been paid for. 

Léá Ní Bhríaín went into the Northern Ireland bakery she and her sister had enlisted to make a cake for her niece Akeelah's first birthday and was told a grieving father, whose baby daughter died at just eight days old, had covered the cost of the Peppa Pig creation.

He had done so on what would have been his daughter's first birthday as he wanted the chance to buy a little girl a birthday cake "...as he didn't get the chance to pay for his own," Léá wrote on Facebook.

Posting a picture of the cake, along with one of the card the bereaved dad left, she recounted, "This afternoon me and my sister went to the Windsor Bakery in Banbridge to lift my niece's 1st birthday cake."

"When I went to pay for it I was informed by the staff that an absolute gent of a man had came in earlier that morning and asked to pay money towards it due to it being his daughters 1st birthday today that had sadly passed away at 8 days old. He wanted to pay for some other little girl's cake as he didn't get the chance to pay for his own and had also left a birthday card for the child too from which you could only imagine left the whole bakery in tears."

The heartbreaking card read:

"Dear Birthday Girl. In honour of what would have been my little girl's 1st birthday I have chosen to pay for your birthday cake. I am unable to buy my daughter a cake of her own today, but I hope you enjoy this one and have a fantastic birthday."

He signed off, "God bless, Hannah's Daddy."

Léá then pleaded for others to help find Hannah's dad, asking people to share the post far and wide in the hope that she can "... return the favour to this wonderful man."

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"I honestly hope him or his family don't mind me sharing this on Facebook but I can't get this man out of my head all day and how generous and kind he is especially on his daughters 1st birthday and he's done such a lovely gesture for another person's child. We would really love to return the favour to this wonderful man so I would appreciate if everyone could share this status for me in hope for us to find him or his family!"

The post struck a chord - with more than 19,000 likes and over 8,300 shares, as people joined the search for the man.
Commenters were quick to convey the emotion they felt about the dad and his kind gesture.
"I cried reading that. Omg today is obviously such a hard day for him and yet he still wanted to make another wee girls day! Wow amazing!"
"Omg what a gentleman! That is the most heart warming thing ever god bless them."
"Aw heartbreaking that is poor guy just needed bit of comfort."
Léá returned to the post to announce that Hannah's parents had been found.
"THE POWER OF SOCIAL MEDIA! Hannah's Daddy & Mummy have been found! Thank you all so much for sharing, means so much."
While she hasn't given any extra detail to date, we can only assume it was an emotional moment for all concerned.