Note: we are republishing this story, which originally made the news in September 2017, in light of recent reports that suggest more and more people all across the country are experiencing random acts of kindness even amid the challenges everyone is facing due to the pandemic.
A young girl stood by the window of her family's business every morning to watch the trains go by and wave at the conductors. After she started school, the conductors took notice that she wasn't there any longer. What happened next left the girl's mother in tears.
According to reports, Briana Hefley Shepard wrote a post that was shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page. She explained her daughter's tradition of waving at the trains as they went by every morning.
The conductors noticed the little girl and started waving back, rolling down their windows and blowing their train whistles just to make her smile. After several years of this, Shepard's daughter had to start school. The conductors noticed that their little friend was no longer in the window.
Shepard explained what happened in the Facebook post:
The most amazing and heartwarming thing happened this morning. My family's business moved into their new location about three years ago. It's located right along the train tracks which means we get a front row seat to all of the locomotive action. My daughter lives for it. It didn't take long for the conductors to notice her waving to them and for them to return those waves. As time progressed, it became their ritual. They'd blow their whistles, she'd run to the window, they'd open their windows, and everyone would wave and smile ear to ear. I teared up almost every single time.
Then a few weeks ago, my daughter started school.
Her transition to daily school hit me a little harder than I was expecting, but it hit me the hardest the first day the train came when she wasn't there. They blew their whistles, they opened their windows, but I was the only one standing there just crying and weakly waving. The next day I made a sign. I simply wrote 'She started school.' I heard the whistle, ran to the window, and held up my sign. That was three weeks ago.
This morning ... minutes after I walked into the shop, someone knocked on the door. It was a man in a bright yellow shirt with ear plugs hanging down. I assumed he was a construction worker coming to talk construction, because that's what we do here. I was wrong. He was there to ask about the little girl with the blonde hair that waved to the trains. He was one of the conductors and they'd all been wondering what had happened to her. Today they'd had a short train, so they stopped down the tracks, walked to our building, and knocked on our door. Oh did I cry. They had seen my sign, but couldn't make out what it said. They had assumed she'd started school, but had to make sure. He said that her waves had made their days. For three years they'd shared these moments.
They want to do something for her; they miss her. He asked if they could send her something, to which I said of course! They are going to send her a birthday present in a few weeks.
Witnessing their unconventional friendship over the past several years has been nothing short of magical. To know it impacted them just as much as it impacted us, fills me with love and hope. The visit today and their ongoing kindness to my daughter has reaffirmed my faith in goodness and humanity. These are moments we'll always remember.
Readers shared their thoughts on the touching story in the comments of the post.
"I just cried," one reader commented. "I know it's silly. This story just goes to show how much lives are truly interwoven and how your actions impact others."
"How sweet!" another user wrote. "My son has had a similar friendship with the men who drive the garbage truck in our neighborhood. Every Tuesday when he hears them coming down the street he runs to the front door to wave to them. They always look for him and wave back with a smile. He calls them his 'trash truck buddies.' When he started preschool it was so weird the first time the trash truck came by and he wasn't there to greet them. Now his little sister waves to them."
Sources: Love What Matters/Facebook