I've always loved hanging out in the toy aisles at Target. When my kids were little, we'd sometimes head there for a morning of free entertainment and air conditioning. I've always thought of it as a happy place.
And for mum Alyssa Hacker and her toddler son Owen, the Target toy aisles became a site of an incredibly special moment recently. She shared her story on Facebook.
"This momma just cried in the middle of Target," she wrote. And while general parent fatigue or toddler tantrums have seen me cry in Target a few times myself, Alyssa's reason is way better.
"We were at Target waiting on Grammi and we found some dinosaurs," Alyssa wrote. "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."
The man turned around and said to Owen, "Hey, sweet boy!" and played dinosaurs with him for a few minutes.
Being a normal mum, Alyssa was cautious about this overly friendly stranger. "Because of the crazy stories I see on Facebook daily, I'm usually in protective mummy mode," she told Scary Mommy. "I had a peace about it, but stayed aware."
But after a few moments, the man reached into his wallet and pulled out twenty dollars. "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 Owen's back, wiped his tears and walked off."
And now I'm crying, you're crying – we're all crying.
Alyssa told Scary Mommy, Owen was very happy, but of course didn't understand the gravity of what had just been shared. "He's the life of the party," she said. "He loved the attention and ate it up."
Alyssa said she hasn't seen or talked to the man since that encounter, but hopefully he has seen the positive reaction his act of generosity has set off. The post has been liked over 333,000 times, and has been shared 127,000 times – with thousands more people leaving comments of support and love.
Alyssa said the message from her meeting with the man was clear: "There is still some good in this world."