As they settled into their table, Myles spotted a man dressed in a military uniform sitting at a nearby booth. And that’s when everything changed.
Myles suddenly realized what he wanted to do with his newfound riches. He sat down and wrote a note: “My dad was a soldier. He’s in heaven now. I found this $20 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.” He signed the note, “Myles Eckert, a Gold Star kid.” So what could possibly motivate an 8-year-old boy do something so selfless?
When Myles saw this uniformed man, thoughts of his own father, Army Sergeant Andy Eckert, flooded his mind. Because his dad had died in Iraq at the age of 24 – just weeks after Myles was born – Myles has no memories of his father. He relies instead on a few sweet keepsakes, photographs, things people have told him … and his own imagination. “I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun,” Myles said later. Never having known his dad, he was immediately drawn to this man in uniform.