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TOLEDO, Ohio – An eight-year-old boy who acted beyond his years decided to pay it forward to a soldier he had just met after he discovered a small amount of money in the parking lot of a restaurant.

In early February, according to CBS News, eight-year-old Myles Eckert and his family had gone to eat at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Toledo, which is near the Ohio Air National Guard base. Eckert was very excited when he discovered the $20 bill in the restaurant’s parking lot as he and his family was heading inside. Eckert says at first he thought about getting a video game with the money, but when he saw a soldier inside he changed his mind.

Instead, Eckert did something selfless and full of honor. He wrapped the $20 bill inside of a post-it note he wrote a message on and gave it to Lt. Col. Frank Dailey who was there at the restaurant dining with his family. The note read:

Dear Soldier, 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. Myles Eckert, a gold star kid.”

Dailey was floored by the gesture from the little boy. It turns out Eckert’s father, Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, had been killed in Iraq just five weeks after Myles was born. All Eckert knows about his father has come from the memories of others. He also has his dad’s dog tags and wedding ring.

Eckert says he imagines his father to be a very nice and fun person. He also imagines that his dad would enjoy a good story, because following the encounter at the restaurant; Eckert requested his mother stop by his father’s grave so he could see him, but wanted to go alone. She snapped a photo from the car of her son giving a hug to his dad’s headstone.

Dailey says the gift he received from Eckert is much bigger than just the $20, which he says he has already paid forward to someone else. He says he continues to look at Eckert’s green post-it note every day, because it serves as a reminder for him to take life in a new direction. He hopes it will serve as a source of inspiration for people across the country to give to and honor others.

[Source: CBS News]