An image of a Starbucks gift card and a $5 bill went viral when the story posted alongside the image touched the hearts of readers.
The original story from Love What Matters on Facebook was seemingly written by an unnamed woman who details her family's financial struggles and her 4-year-old son's compassionate reaction to those tough times.
"A few months ago, my husband and I were having a conversation about our finances," the woman wrote. "We didn't know it at the time, but our 4.5 year old son was taking note of this conversation in another room"
Children will listen, as composer Stephen Sondheim might say. "Children may not obey, but children will listen." And that is exactly what the unnamed woman's son did.
The woman wrote that a week passed before, while out running errands, she openly yearned for a Starbucks coffee to get her through the day, to which her husband reminded her that $5 coffees were well out of their budget.
"It was then that my son asked me for my Starbucks card," she added. "Something that very rarely has a balance, but is kept safely in my wallet around my birthday and the holidays when I can reload it with gift cards. He likes playing with old gift cards and reward cards, so I passed it back to him."
Only a moment later the woman's son was ready to hand the card back.
"I put dollars on your coffee card," the boy told his mother.
When she turned around she saw her son handing her the Starbucks card with a $5 bill neatly folded around it; money he must have been saving for something important.
"He, being the literal child that he is, put $5 ON my card for me to buy a coffee," the woman wrote. "When my husband told me we 'can't put money on the card', my son took that quite literally… so he did it for me."
"I will never in my life drink a better cup of coffee than I did that afternoon," she added.
Touched by her son's love and generosity, inspired by his selflessness, the woman urged parents everywhere to recognize the beauty in the way children think and the importance of teaching them to be giving and thoughtful from an early age.
"Take a moment to appreciate how beautifully your children's minds work," she wrote.
"Then, more importantly, take another moment to realize that teaching kindness to children is such a worthwhile feat," she added, "Teach your kids kindness and they will pour it into the world."
The story was shared more than 4,000 times, and had more than 23,000 reactions in less than a week.
According to a 2016 report from the Federal Reserve, 76 million Americans struggle or fail to make financial ends meet. That's 31 percent of American adults who either struggle to pay bills on time or cannot pay them at all.