A toddler hugged a pizza delivery man mourning the death of his daughter, a heartening surprise when he needed it the most.
On February 15, Lindsey Sheely of West Warwick, Rhode Island ordered delivery from her favorite restaurant Wicked Good Pizza. But after paying for the pie, her 2-year-old son Cohen ran back to the porch for one more goodbye. “Cohen was holding a package of ranch dressing with one hand and had his other arm stretched out for a hug, and the delivery man leaned into it so naturally,” Sheely tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Sheely’s doorbell camera recorded the boy yelling, “Bye bye!” and running after the employee. The man stopped to receive the boy’s embrace and said, “Enjoy your pizza!”
The following day, after Sheely posted the footage to Instagram, a personal message from a man named Ryan Catterson appeared in her inbox. He said, ‘I saw your video — I was your pizza guy,’” says Sheely.
When Catterson, who saw the video through a mutual friend, asked if he could share it on Facebook, Sheely visited his profile. She discovered a GoFundme page for the funeral expenses of his 16-year-old daughter Alyssa, who passed away unexpectedly in February.
“I sent Ryan my condolences and he said he needed that hug [from Cohen] because his family is in California,” Sheely tells Yahoo Lifestyle. She later edited her Facebook post to read, “...that hug from Cohen was a little blessing from God. I believe in divine appointments and know that Ryan was the one to deliver our pizza for a reason.” She also encouraged people to donate to Ryan’s GoFundMe page. “My heart is so heavy for this family, anything to help lighten the burden, I know, will be greatly appreciated.”
Afterward, the mom was inspired to strike up a conversation with two elderly man who she learned had both lost a child in their lifetimes. “It was a blessing because we rarely take the time to notice others,” she says. “But I had Alyssa on my mind. I’ve been told by her family that she wanted to make the world a better place and take away people’s pain.”
Catterson did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, he told NBC 10 News, "Just that it was the perfect timing for it, I had been telling my kids and the whole family how much I needed hugs before they came and then that sweet little boy gave me one. It was almost as if the universe or my daughter had known and sent it to me."
Sheely also shared with Yahoo Lifestyle a written statement from the father which read, “If I could tell the world one thing, it's to make sure you check on your kids constantly, because you never know what they might be struggling with internally.”
Catterson continued, “We get really caught up in the fast pace of life, and I think sometimes that causes us to lose sight of what actually matters, which is mental wellbeing. You never know when the last time you see someone you love will be, so I hope tonight every parent out there takes a few minutes to explain to their children how much they love them. Hug them a little tighter than usual, talk to them about their feelings, and teach them how to deal with pain in healthy ways.”
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