After winning a teddy bear at the fair, Erin saw a sad little girl sitting on a bench. Her father was seemingly too busy talking on the phone, so the young woman decided to give her the toy. The little girl smiled and said, “Thank you.” Suddenly, her father began to cry, knelt in front of his daughter, and later explained why.
Erin skipped through the Alabama State Fair like a little girl. Her friends followed with delighted smiles. They were taking a much-needed break from their studies at the University of Alabama. But Erin was particularly delighted because she won a teddy bear at one of the games, where you had to knock down a few bottles at once.
Winning was exhilarating, and Erin was still riding that high. Her friend, Kelly, put an arm around her shoulders as they walked then spoke up. “See? We told you this would be fun!”
Erin nodded and smiled back at her friend, placing one arm around Kelly’s waist while holding her prize tightly with the other. They were now looking for the food vendors, hoping to find the state fair’s famous pickle pizza. However, Erin stopped and frowned when she saw a little girl sitting on a bench away from the crowd.
Kelly was forced to halt with her. “What’s wrong?” her friend wondered as the others continued walking.
“That little girl is all sad and alone,” Erin explained, pointing her finger at the child not too far away from them.
“So? Wait, she’s not alone. Look! There’s a man right there, talking on the phone,” Kelly added.
A little further away from the bench, they saw the man having a heated conversation on the phone. He waved one of his hands in frustration before running it through his hair.
“That might not be her father, Kel. You know what? Go on with the others. I’m going to talk to her,” Erin decided. She let go of her friend’s waist and walked towards the girl. Kelly tried to grab her, but Erin was fast. In the end, she followed, not wanting to leave her alone at the fair.
“Hey, there. Why are you sad? Aren’t you having fun at the fair?” Erin asked sweetly. She knelt and tried to make eye contact with the kid. The little girl looked up for a second and then back down at her hands, which she held firmly together on her lap. She also had a sad pout on her face and didn’t reply to Erin at all.
Erin looked at the man a few steps away. He hadn’t noticed that two adults were speaking to his daughter. He was too busy on his cellphone.
This situation reminded her of her own parents before they got divorced. They would take her places and start fighting, forgetting about their child. Erin stayed quiet back then and hoped they didn’t attract that much attention.
Most of the time, one of them would get tired of yelling, and they would leave, ruining the outing completely. As a result, she never got to enjoy anything they did together. Eventually, family-friendly locations became her least-favorite places in the world, and that’s why she hesitated when her friends wanted to come here today. But Kelly insisted, practically carrying her to the car.
Watching this little girl alone and sad while her dad was distracted broke her heart, so she decided to cheer her up. “Hey, I won this prize today. It’s a cute teddy bear. I won it just for you! His name is Mr. Smartypants,” Erin revealed, smiling and waving the toy in the little girl’s face.
Luckily, the child looked up and smiled tentatively at Erin. Now that she had caught the kid’s attention, she changed her voice to a deep timber, pretending to be the bear. “Hello! I’m Mr. Smartypants! Nice to meet you! Do you want to be my friend?” Erin rumbled.
Finally, the little girl laughed and took the teddy bear in her hands. She focused on the toy intently, touching its ears and its fake fur. She looked up at Erin and uttered quietly, “Thank you.” Suddenly, her dad was right there. Erin stood up quickly, scared at his sudden appearance.
“What? What did you say, Luna?” the man asked in consternation and dropped down to his knees in front of the child, tears welling in his eyes. He touched her hair with a shaking hand while Erin and Kelly watched, puzzled.
Then the girl spoke up. “I said thank you like you told me to, Daddy.”
Luna’s father covered his mouth with one hand while the other continued to tenderly rub the girl’s hair. “Yes, yes…of course. You have to say thank you when someone gives you a gift,” the man replied to his daughter with a tearful smile, then he looked at Erin. “Thank you. Thank you so much. You have no idea what this means.”
“What does it mean?” Kelly chirped from behind Erin, who shushed her because it was an intrusive question. The man shook his head in wonder and continued smiling as he stood up. He looked at both college students in awe.
“No, it’s ok. My daughter has not spoken one word since my wife passed away a year ago. She’s just six years old but loved talking our ears off. This is the first time I’ve heard her voice since then,” Luna’s dad sniveled. He used his hands to wipe some of his tears away and continued speaking. “I’ve taken her to a million specialists for months. One of them recommended this fair today, but Luna did not want to do anything. And you just made her smile.”
Erin and Kelly gasped at the revelation, and they both got emotional. “I’m so sorry for your loss, sir,” Erin stated.
“I appreciate it. Oh, my name is Kyle,” he introduced himself and shook both her hands. “Can I pay for the bear?”
Erin held her hands up. “No! No! Please! It’s a gift. I won it easily. She deserves it.”
“Yeah, maybe now Luna will want to play some other games at the fair. You can win tons of teddy bears,” Kelly spoke up and looked down at the little girl, who was still focused on the bear.
Luna perked up subtly and muttered, “Yeah.” Kyle closed his eyes in gratitude for a few seconds and then kneeled once again, asking Luna where she wanted to go next. Erin and Kelly wished them good luck at the games and went to catch up with their friends at the pizza stand.
But before they reached the food stand, Kelly muttered, “He was cute, right?”
Erin rolled her eyes and glanced at her sideways. “Please, Kelly. He’s a single dad mourning his late wife.”
But Erin ran into Kyle a few months later at a coffee shop, and they exchanged phone numbers. Eventually, she became Luna’s stepmother.
What can we learn from this story?
- Random acts of kindness can change someone’s life. Erin thought she was just making a sad little girl laugh, but she did way more than that.
- Don’t let sad memories stop you from enjoying new ones. Erin hated family-friendly places because of her parents’ past actions. She attended the fair reluctantly but met her destiny.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.
If you enjoyed this story, you might like this one about an older woman who left her grandson out of her will to teach him a lesson.
This account is inspired by our reader’s story and written by a professional writer. Any resemblance to actual names or locations is purely coincidental. All images are for illustration purposes only. Share your story with us; maybe it will change someone’s life. If you would like to share your story, please send it to email@example.com.