It all happened on February 15, a typical Saturday night shift for Ryan Catterson, a delivery pizza man just doing his job in West Warick, Rhode Island.
As Catterson delivered the goods to the Sheely family, their 2-year-old toddler, Cohen Sheely, decided to give the man a massive bear hug before he left.
The adorable moment was caught on the Sheely family’s doorbell camera and later, Cohen’s mom, Lindsey Sheely, was thankful she captured the lovely moment — later sharing it online.
Watch: Toddler gives a hug to a pizza delivery man who recently lost his own child.
“I put it up on my Instagram,” Lindsey shared with the news station. “Actually, I just put it up in my [Instagram] stories because we thought it was funny and cute.”
But the best part of the story was just how badly Catterson needed that simple hug.
It was later revealed that Catterson had lost his 16-year-old daughter, who was struggling with mental health, who lived in California with Catterson’s ex-wife.
While the toddler had no idea how much the grieving father needed a hug, Catterson was beyond touched.
“After losing my daughter this past week, it just touched me because it was like she was there, you know, and it just meant a ton to me,” he shared.
In addition, Catterson’s ex-wife revealed to the news station she was “grateful that someone saw his pain and could be there for him.”
“It’s so easy to miss people and their internal pain,” Danielle McCord shared with Fox 8. “That even goes to our daughter, you know. We didn’t know her pain.”
“It’s going to be tough to know that I’m not going to be able to hug her again,” Catterson added.
But Linsdey was not aware of just how much her son’s sweetness affected the delivery man until Catterson watched the video.
When the pizza delivery man saw the video circulating online, he reached out to let Lindsey know just how much of an impact her son had on him.
“That might have been [my daughter] just looking out for me at the time,” he said of the hug. “Those words mean something, made me think, ‘Wow, maybe she’s there.’”
Since the video went viral, a GoFundMe has been created to raise money for Catterson to help cover expenses for his daughter’s funeral.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.