Wake up with a Smile

Join our newsletter

82-Yr-Old Widower Finds New Lease On Life Thanks To 4-Yr-Old Stranger

Dan and Norah, and 82 and 4 year old, smile as they pose in a grocery store.

When Dan Peterson lost his wife in 2016, his whole world came crashing down. The 82-year-old widow missed his wife, and the loss sent him into a dark period of his life. But then, one day, a life-changing encounter at the grocery store changed everything. While shopping alone, Dan walked by a little girl, Norah, and her mom, Tara Wood. For whatever reason, 4-year-old Norah felt drawn to him. She even went out of her way to ask the widow for a hug.

This chance encounter lifted Dan’s spirits in a way that nothing else had since Mary passed away. Best of all, their paths didn’t cross just this once. After meeting, Norah and Tara started to visit Dan every Sunday. This special bond continued on until Dan, too, passed away in 2020. But their heartwarming friendship continues to have a lasting impact.

@cbsmornings After his wife Mary died, 82-year-old Dan Peterson said he fell into a deep depression and lost all sense of purpose. Then on a trip to the grocery store, he was approached by a four-year-old Norah Wood who asked for a hug. That sparked years of friendship — and purpose. #friendship #heartwarming #hopecore ♬ original sound – CBS Mornings

“I can only assume there was some divine intervention or stars aligning or she was nudged by the universe,” Tara once said in 2016. “I know we’re all better because of it, though.”

Widow Finds Joy Again Thanks to 4-Year-Old’s Sweet Offer of a Hug

Now 11-years-old, Norah looks back lovingly on her friendship with Dan. In fact, she still has a framed photo of the two of them in her room to this day.

Dan smiles as Norah smiles while hugging him tightly in a grocery store.

And although it’s sad that he’s gone, she couldn’t be more grateful for the time she had with her sweet, elderly friend. Not only because of the positive impact they had on each other but on the countless folk who continue to learn their story.

“I like to think about it in a happy perspective,” Norah shares, adding that she believes so many people are touched by their friendship “because I think that everyone just wanted a hug.”

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here!

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.