Toddler hugs pizza delivery man goodbye, not knowing that he’s grieving the loss of his own daughter

On February 15, 2020, Lindsey Sheely of West Warwick, Rhode Island, ordered delivery from her favorite restaurant, Wicked Good Pizza. After paying for the food, her then two-year-old son, Cohen, ran out to the porch to say goodbye to the delivery man.

Our children can surprise us in many ways. In the case of a toddler named Cohen, he did what his parents thought was a “sweet and funny” gesture, but it turned out to mean something more to its recipient.

The child was holding a package of ranch dressing with one hand while his other arm was outstretched for a hug. The pizza guy stopped to lean into the boy’s embrace before telling him, “Enjoy your pizza!”

A male toddler playing with toys - ordered delivery led to hugging
Photo by Lindsey Sheely

The enthusiastic toddler even tried to kiss him, but his mom told him to just blow kisses.

The adorable interaction was captured on Sheely’s doorbell camera. The following day, she posted the footage on Facebook and Instagram.

“We thought it was so sweet and funny,” she wrote. “I hope it gives you a laugh and warms your heart like it did for us.”

Then, she received a message from a man named Ryan Catterson, who told her that he saw the video and that he was the one who handled their ordered delivery. He was the pizza delivery man.

Catterson said that he saw the doorbell camera footage through a mutual friend and asked if he could share it on Facebook.

Pizza delivery guy hugging toddler - ordered delivery

When Sheely visited his profile, she was shocked to see a GoFundMe page for the funeral expenses of Catterson’s 16-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who unexpectedly passed away just a week before.

“After losing my daughter this past week, it touched me because it was like she was there. It really just meant a lot to me,” Catterson told WLNE about Cohen’s actions.

Sheely called her son’s hug for Catterson a “little blessing from God.”

“I believe in divine appointments and know that Ryan was the one to deliver our pizza for a reason,” she said.

Ryan Catterson, Cohen, and Lindsey Sheely

And Catterson believes the same.

“Just that it was the perfect timing for it, I had been telling my kids and the whole family how much I needed hugs before they came and then that sweet little boy gave me one,” he told NBC 10 News. “It was almost as if the universe or my daughter had known and sent it to me.”

Sheely updated her Facebook post to include a link to Catterson’s GoFundMe page for Alyssa, encouraging her friends and family to donate.

“I couldn’t believe that this guy was going through the most devastating thing, but his life was still going on. His life had to go forward, and he still had to work and to do his job,” she told the outlet. “You never know what people are going through. This is such a good example of that.”

Catterson said that her daughter used to live with his ex-wife, Danielle McCord, in California. McCord said that Cohen’s seemingly simple gesture had such a huge impact on Alyssa’s dad. She said the child’s actions were a lesson on empathy.

Ryan Catterson and his daughter Alyssa

“It’s so easy to miss people and their internal pain. Even with our daughter, we didn’t know her pain. I can’t help but be grateful that someone saw his pain and could be there for him,” she said.

It was reported that Alyssa struggled with mental health problems growing up. For Catterson, Cohen’s hug only lasted a few seconds, but it’s a moment that he would treasure forever. Who knew that a simple ordered delivery from a restaurant can lead to something special.

“If I could tell the world one thing, it’s to make sure you check on your kids constantly, because you never know what they might be struggling with internally,” Catterson said in a written statement to Sheely.

This dad may never be able to see and hug his daughter again, but he knows that Alyssa will make him feel her love in other ways, just like she did with this sweet little boy.

Learn more about this heartwarming story in the video below.

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