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Like most 8-year-olds, Myles Eckert was already dreaming up ways he could spend a $20 bill he had just discovered laying in a Cracker Barrel parking lot earlier this month.
“I kind of wanted to get a video game, but then I decided not to,” the child recounted to CBS News.
That’s because Eckert saw Lt. Col. Frank Dailey enter the restaurant. The man in uniform changed his mind.
“Because he was a soldier, and soldiers remind me of my dad,” Eckert explained to CBS.
The 8-year-old boy wrapped the $20 bill in a note he had authored to the solider.
“Dear Soldier — my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now.”
“Dear Soldier — my dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now,” the note said. “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.”
“I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun,” he told CBS News.
That February day, Eckert even asked his mother to go visit his father.
“He wanted to go see his dad,” said his mother Tiffany. “And he wanted to go by himself that day.”
She took a photograph of her son visiting his father’s grave.
“It’s incredible being recognized in such a manner,” he said, adding that the child’s simple gift has provided him “a lifetime of direction.”