On the Sunday after Thanksgiving, Phillip “Paw Paw” Dooley Sr. lost his battle with cancer. He was buried a few days later in Fort Custer National Cemetery near his home in Michigan.
During the funeral procession, as WMMT reports, his grandson, Garrick Dooley, watched as a man in a Cadillac pulled over to the side of the road and got out of the vehicle.
It made Garrick happy to see a stranger show respect for his beloved grandfather. He posted a picture on Facebook of the man standing outside his vehicle with his head bowed.
“To the man that gave respect to my PawPaw as we passed by on the way to Ft. Custer I want to say thank you,” Garrick wrote in the caption. “This lifted up many lowered heads today.”
Garrick told Fox 46 he posted the picture to find the man who stopped and shake his hand:
“If the guy isn’t found I still love seeing the positivity out of it. My Paw Paw deserves it and he never gave himself enough credit.”
The original Facebook post has now been shared more than 12,000 times, but the family has yet to identify the man in the photograph.
Many people commented that the man’s gesture is a common practice for funeral processions in the U.S.:
Though many people noticed that fewer people pull over when they see a line of cars for a funeral procession.
While it has become a less common sight for many, a few people shared similar stories of how this sign of respect helped them through a difficult moment:
Garrick told Dearly he wasn’t expecting the post to “get as big as it did,” but he’s glad it did. “Something so small can have such a huge impact,” he said. “I’m glad people are seeing that.”
Even though the Dooley family may never have the chance to meet the man who showed respect for their “Paw Paw,” they’re happy his act of kindness can help inspire others to learn from his example.
Watch the full story from WWMT below.