by Michele Zipp
Eight-year-old Myles Eckert was in an Ohio Cracker Barrel parking lot with his family on their way to lunch when he found a $20 bill. Like most kids his age (or really anyone who found it of any age), he began thinking about what he wanted to spend it on. He thought about buying a video game but that thought changed when he saw a soldier in uniform.
Myles's father, Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, was killed in Iraq five weeks before he was born. He never got to meet his dad, but he thinks of him all the time. And in his father's honor, Myles decided to not only give the soldier he saw the money, but a note.
That man in uniform is Lt. Col. Frank Dailey. And this is letter Myles gave him:
My dad was a soldier. He's in heaven now. I found this 20 dollars in the parking lot when we got here. We like to pay it forward in my family. It's your lucky day!
Thank you for your service.
Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.
Incredible. This kid ... wow. Such emotion and respect and love he has in honor of his father, and his family who clearly are raising him to be such a great young man. About his father, Myles said, "I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun." I imagine Myles to be the same way -- just like his hero father.
After lunch that day, Myles's mom Tiffany said that he wanted to go see his dad so they went to the cemetery. Myles hugs his father's headstone when he visits.
As for Lt. Col. Frank Dailey who was given that touching gift from Myles, he is a changed man. "I look at it every day," Dailey said of the letter. And he says it meant the world to him and has given him a "lifetime direction." Those words Myles wrote -- "thank you" -- that says it all. I want to thank Myles. Thank his father. And thank Lt. Col. Dailey. All heroes. Dailey gave the $20 to another person in a beautiful pay-it-forward gesture and he hopes that spirit of kindness that Myles shared goes on and on.
What do you think of Myles's beautiful gesture?