Losing a parent or family member will always be one of the hardest things that anyone will ever go through.
We grieve, we mourn, and we honor the memory of our loved one. In the mix of emotions, it can feel difficult to devote any thought to some of the small details that go into laying a family member to rest, such as their funeral and how to dress for it. When tragedy struck one family in Ohio, they found themselves faced with this very dilemma. Yet, one stranger came along just in the nick of time in a truly heart-warming act of kindness.
When Kevin Butcher’s father, John Butcher Jr., passed away, the last thing he thought he would have to worry about was what he would wear to his father’s funeral.
Kevin Butcher, a resident of Milford, Ohio, went to his local Walmart in the hopes of finding a tie to wear to his father’s funeral. After picking out a classic blue tie, Butcher realized there was a slight problem.
“I realized neither [myself or my wife] knew how to tie a tie,” Butcher recounted his realization to News Channel 9 in an interview.
Thankfully, Kevin Butcher noticed another man, later identified as Howell Hackler, wearing a tie in the same aisle and asked him for a little help learning how to tie a tie.
“I said, ‘Excuse me sir, but my father had passed away and I don’t know how to tie a tie. Would you mind?’ He didn’t hesitate,” Butcher remembered their meeting, fighting back tears.
Howell Hackler, the kind stranger, is used to wearing a tie and wears one almost every day. He was more than happy to help the Butcher family during their time of hardship. Butcher joked that it may take Hackler all day to teach him, but the older gentleman didn’t mind. He patiently taught Butcher how to tie his necktie, going over the steps a couple of times until Butcher had finally gotten the hang of it.
At the time, the couple didn’t even know Hackler’s name – only what he looked like and how his seemingly simple act of kindness had changed their lives.
After the Butcher family’s meeting with Hackler, Sherri Butcher, Kevin’s wife, wrote a Facebook post about the heart-warming encounter. “I don’t know this man’s name…but I will never forget his heartfelt smile as he thanked us for helping him!” Sherri gushed in her post about Howell Hackler’s act of kindness.
“He really touched both of us on a really, really hard day,” Sherri said about Hackler’s kind gesture.
Thankfully, after coming across Sherri’s touching Facebook post, their local news station was able to reunite the pair and captured the meeting on camera.
“Meeting these two [Kevin and Sherri Butcher] again is great, because I didn’t think I would ever see those two guys again,” Hackler said about the surprising reunion. “If I find somebody that I can help, and they want help, I’ll be glad to help them. That’s what I’ve done all my life. Why change?”
The two men shared a warm embrace and finally introduced themselves to one another. Butcher was visibly emotional, holding back tears as he thanked Hackler for his generosity and kindness. Butcher emotionally told the news station that Hackler helping him with his tie reminded him of his father helping him.
It turns out that not all heroes wear capes, but some do wear ties.
The two men, previously strangers, now have an unbreakable bond thanks to their remarkable experience together. “Silly what a little, old tie can do, ain’t it? You’re a kind, kind soul, sir,” Butcher said to Hackler. Thank you to the local news station for bringing these men back together and giving us a truly uplifting story about how the smallest acts of kindness can change someone’s life.
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