Tara Wood (AUGUSTA, Ga.) — Norah Wood, the 4-year-old girl who bonded with an 82-year-old widower at a grocery store, spent Thanksgiving with the man whom she now calls her best friend.
“If they had never met, I don’t know if he would’ve had anyone to spend Thanksgiving with and that makes me sad,” Norah’s mom, Tara Wood, of Augusta, Georgia, told ABC News. “I’m grateful that I followed Norah’s lead on her speaking with him at the grocery store that day. He will always be part of our family now.”
Norah and Daniel “Mr. Dan” Peterson became friends on Sept. 28 while she and her mother were buying cupcakes for her fourth birthday.
They exchanged small talk and parted ways before Norah asked her mom if she could take a picture with Mr. Dan for her birthday.
“They hugged and they acted like they’ve known each other forever,” Wood said.
On Halloween, Norah and Mr. Dan captured hearts across the internet after she visited him while dressed in her Minnie Mouse costume. Wood said the pair have been inseparable ever since.
As Thanksgiving approached, Wood, a mom of seven, decided to invite Mr. Dan to join her family dinner.
“I prepared him and said, ‘You’re walking into a bunch of new faces,’ but he was delighted,” Wood said. “He came in smiling and repeated everyone’s names. They treated him like royalty because the story went worldwide. My kids felt like they already knew him because we talk about him so much at home.”
Mr. Dan wore the special necklace Norah made for him at school and made himself “right at home,” Wood said.
“[Norah] led him by the hand. … She kept going over to check on him and sat on his lap,” she added. “He’ll be with us until the end of my days … at least that I know.”
This year, Mr. Dan is also invited to help Norah and her family decorate their Christmas tree.
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