Lifestyle & Human Interest

Toddler Hugs Pizza Delivery Driver Not Knowing the Driver's Daughter Had Just Passed Away


A toddler’s impromptu hug in appreciation of his pizza delivery man ended up bringing a measure of comfort to a family in the throes of grief.

Ryan Catterson works for Wicked Good Pizza in Rhode Island as a delivery driver.

Last weekend, Catterson delivered a pizza to Lindsey Sheely’s home.

As he was leaving the house, a small boy darted out the front door and threw his arms around Catterson in a warm hug.

Catterson, surprised but happy, returned the hug and waved farewell to the boy.

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Sheely took a quick video of the sweet interaction and posted it to Instagram, chuckling over her son Cohen’s impulsive decision to chase down and hug the pizza delivery man.

As social media often goes, somebody who saw the video shared it with Catterson, who soon sent Sheely a message asking if he could share the video himself.

When Sheely visited Catterson’s Facebook page, she quickly realized that her son’s hug was more than just a cute interaction — to Catterson, it had been a dose of love when he needed it the most.

Sheeley learned that Catterson’s daughter, just 16, died earlier that week.

“After losing my daughter this past week, it just touched me because it was like she was there,” Catterson told WLNE of Cohen’s hug.

“It just meant a ton to me.”

Catterson shared that his daughter struggled with her mental health and lived in California with her mother, Danielle McCord, Catterson’s ex-wife.

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“It’s going to be tough to know that I’m not going to be able to hug her again,” Catterson said.

McCord told WLNE that she, too, was grateful for the way Cohen’s love helped her family.

“It’s so easy to miss people and their internal pain,” McCord said. “That even goes to our daughter. We didn’t know her pain. I can’t help but be grateful that somebody saw his pain and was able to be there for him.”

Catterson said the timing was perfect — he had just been talking to his family about needing all the hugs he could get.

“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,” Catterson said. “It was almost as if the universe or my daughter had known and sent it to me.”

Out of caution, Sheely could have prevented her son from dashing out the front door to hug a stranger, but she told WJAR she is grateful the interaction took place.

“If I had been afraid to let Cohen run out the door because we don’t know this man, and that’s the world we live in, then we would’ve missed out on this entire touching moment that truly impacted not just Ryan’s life but his entire family and mine,” Sheely said.

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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