Briana Hefley Shepard’s daughter had a tradition. Each day, she would stand at the large windows at her family’s business and wave to the passing trains below. After three years of this, a conductor saw a sign in the window where he was used to seeing a tiny blonde girl.
Briana had just walked into work on Wednesday morning when she heard a knock at the door. What happened next made her tear up, and she decided to share her experience on social media, where it was picked up by the Love What Matters Facebook page.
“The most amazing and heartwarming thing happened this morning,” Briana wrote on Facebook Wednesday morning. “My family’s business moved into their new location about three years ago. It’s located right along the train tracks which means we get a front row seat to all of the locomotive action. My daughter lives for it. It didn’t take long for the conductors to notice her waving to them and for them to return those waves. As time progressed, it became their ritual. They’d blow their whistles, she’d run to the window, they’d open their windows, and everyone would wave and smile ear to ear. I teared up almost every single time,” she added.
“Then a few weeks ago, my daughter started school,” explained Briana. “Her transition to daily school hit me a little harder than I was expecting, but it hit me the hardest the first day the train came when she wasn’t there. They blew their whistles, they opened their windows, but I was the only one standing there just crying and weakly waving. The next day I made a sign. I simply wrote ‘She started school.’ I heard the whistle, ran to the window, and held up my sign. That was three weeks ago.”
“This morning almost minutes after I walked into the shop, someone knocked on the door,” continued Briana. “It was a man in a bright yellow shirt with earplugs hanging down. I assumed he was a construction worker coming to talk construction, because that’s what we do here. I was wrong. He was there to ask about the little girl with the blonde hair that waved to the trains. He was one of the conductors and they’d all been wondering what had happened to her. Today they’d had a short train, so they stopped down the tracks, walked to our building, and knocked on our door,” she wrote.
“Oh did I cry. They had seen my sign, but couldn’t make out what it said. They had assumed she’d started school, but had to make sure. He said that her waves had made their days. For three years they’d shared these moments,” Briana explained. “They want to do something for her; they miss her. He asked if they could send her something, to which I said of course! They are going to send her a birthday present in a few weeks.”
“Witnessing their unconventional friendship over the past several years has been nothing short of magical. To know it impacted them just as much as it impacted us, fills me with love and hope. The visit today and their ongoing kindness to my daughter has reaffirmed my faith in goodness and humanity. These are moments we’ll always remember,” concluded Briana.
Indeed, her daughter will surely always remember standing at the window and looking out at the passing trains, waving to the conductors and hearing them blow the train’s whistle just for her. What a special experience for a child. A little bit of kindness goes a very long way, just as the kindness the railway workers showed to this little girl has impacted her life forever.