In February 2014, Myles Eckert was eight years old when he went to a restaurant with his mother Tiffany and his sister Marlee in Toledo, Ohio. While walking across the parking lot, he noticed something half buried in the snow — it was a $20 bill.
The young boy became very excited and thought about what he was going to buy with this lucky find during dinner. As Myles’s family tried coming up with ideas for what he could spend the money on, another group of customers entered the restaurant. Upon seeing a man dressed in military uniform with his young family, Myles immediately started thinking about the father he never got to know. Myles’s dad, also a soldier, passed away at the age of 24 when the young boy was only a few months old.
Myles looked over toward the soldier and knew exactly what he was going to do with the money. He first wrote a message that he attached to the $20 bill.
The note read: «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 of Toledo, Ohio, was selected for his philanthropic work on behalf of Gold Star children. Myles has…
It wasn’t easy for the young boy to write this message; Myles has learning difficulties, epilepsy and a mild form of Savant Syndrome (the condition Dustin Hoffman’s character had in the movie «Rain Man»). It was quite a lot of pressure for him to write something so spontaneously and quickly.
Frank Daily, the soldier who had come for lunch with his family, was deeply touched by the young boy’s gesture. He wrote to his grownup daughter about the meeting and sent her a photo of Myles’ note. When Frank’s daughter posted the message online, it was soon shared by users on various social media sites throughout the world. These people also started supporting Myles and his family.
More and more people started sending donations to the family to help keep their heads above the water. It was an incredible show of generosity with over $2,000,000 donated over the course of three years.
As Myles’ name spread, he was soon invited to appear on talkshows to tell his heartwarming story. However, the most wonderful thing of all was what he and his family did with their fortune. Incredibly, they donated every single penny to charities that support military families overcoming loss.
Myles’ mom Tiffany then set up her own foundation called «The Power of 20.» The organization helps children who have lost parents during active service.
The young boy’s initial show of gratitude to a man he didn’t even know soon took on a life of its own in the most beautiful way. By giving away his $20 bill three years ago, children and adults alike can now get the help they so desperately need.
Well done, Myles. His beautiful gesture is the gift that keeps on giving!