‘Soldiers remind me of my dad’: Eight-year-old boy gives $20 to soldier as thanks for his service

Nadine Kalinauskas
Good News
March 3, 2014
A U.S. soldier from the 1st Battalion,116th Infantry Regiment, carries his bag as he prepares to pull out from Iraq to Kuwait, at Tallil Air Base

Early last month, eight-year-old Myles Eckert found a $20 bill in the parking lot of an Ohio Cracker Barrel.

He wasn't sure what to spend his little windfall on — he briefly considered buying a video game — until he spotted a soldier, Lieutenant Colonel Frank Dailey, inside the restaurant. He immediately knew he wanted to give it to him.

"Because he was a soldier, and soldiers remind me of my dad," Myles told CBS News.

Myles wrote Dailey a short message on a Post-It note, which he folded around the bill.

The note read:

"Dear Soldier — 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, a gold star kid."

Myles' father, Army Sergeant Andy Eckert, was killed in Iraq just five weeks after Myles was born.

"I imagine him as a really nice person and somebody that would be really fun," Myles said.

After giving the Dailey the $20, Myles asked his mother, Tiffany, if he could visit his father's grave, alone, on their way home.

From the car, Tiffany took a photo of her son talking to his dad's tombstone, and another of Myles hugging it.

Dailey told CBS News that he looks at the note Myles wrote him every day and credits Myles with giving him "a lifetime direction."

He has already given away the $20 and plans to give much more. He hopes Myles' Post-It note will inspire others to give generosity and to honour others.

When the story first made headlines, the Toledo Free Press was flooded with emails from readers moved to pay-it-forward, too.