A Minnesota dad posted on Facebook about the message that a stranger left for him in a coffee shop this week, and the kind, appreciative note — as well as this dad’s thoughts on it — is going viral.
On Sunday, Dr. David Rosenman of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., spent the morning with his 9-year-old daughter. The two have a routine where he does a little work, and she keeps herself busy with a project (she brought supplies to crochet), while they sit together. But this Sunday was different.
“Today, she made one additional request, ‘Daddy, can you not read the paper or doodle or check email today? Can we just be together?’” Rosenman wrote. The father took her request seriously, and this is how he recounts their morning: “She showed me her yarn project. I recalled the day she was born. We compared notes about whether or not couples at other tables were on ‘dates’ (she likes to impersonate people on dates — resting her smiling face on her hand and practicing a starry-eyed stare). She told me about her friends and their hamsters. I watched her chew her breakfast sandwich and melted a little bit as I thought about how much I love her.”
Rosenman tells Yahoo Parenting that he doesn’t feel like he did anything extraordinary that day. “This isn’t unique to daughters or children or fathers or parents,” he says. “It doesn’t take an entire morning or a scheduled trip to a coffee shop. Every interaction with another human being — no matter how unfamiliar, no matter how brief — is an opportunity to be present and to love.”
He also shared a personal parenting reflection: “I wished it hadn’t taken her past experience and her courageous reaching out for me to give her the attention she so wanted and needed.”
Before the two left the cafe, he went up to the counter for a moment, and returned to find a note, face-down, at his seat. His daughter said a woman had come by and asked if Rosenman was her father, then left the message. Read it at the top of this story.
The Nov. 22 Facebook post inspired by this note, which was addressed “Dear Human Beings,” has been shared more than 10,000 times and liked over 7,000 times. “So many people have shared their own stories (in their own languages!) about parents, children, friends, colleagues,” Rosenman tells Yahoo Parenting. “It’s kind of magical. This experience has reinforced for me how very capable we all are of seeing and celebrating the good around us.”
And the post circled back to someone very special: The teacher who left the note. “Someone recognized the handwriting and tagged [her],” says Rosenman. The two have messaged each other and “become fast friends.”
Commenters are praising the family moment, saying “OMG all the heartstrings pulled,” and “lucky family.” One reader wrote, “Just when I get tempted to worry about things I can’t change about the world’s desperation… I read the most beautiful sentiments and words, and my heart is calmed and encouraged.”
Many people have mentioned how much the world needs this type of positive news right now. Rosenman tells Yahoo Parenting, “The thing is, the world ALWAYS will need this. Imagine what our global community would be like if headlines reported more stories of love and goodness instead of hatred, if parents looked at and earnestly listened to their children.”
For this dad, the stranger’s message was a reinforcement of all the positive things he was already feeling about that morning with his daughter, and a call to action for others who witness good in the world. “I hope more people might be guided by its power and by its author’s thoughtfulness,” Rosenman wrote. “Please don’t wait for your child or other loved one to plead for your attention like mine did — he or she might not. Expect that no one will leave a note for you — such beauty in this world is far too rare.”
Rosenman also passed along this message for everyone who sees the note: “I invite you to share the gift of this experience with me: choose to be present today — even for just a little while — for someone you love. If you see it happen somewhere, consider leaving a note — it sure does leave an impression.”