Cole HolzerEither somebody's cutting onions or this is the most heartwarming story you will read all day. I'm going to go with the latter. Delta Airlines employees went out of their way this week to reunite a 7-year-old boy with his daddy's shirt after little Cole Holzer lost the treasured item on a trip from Fargo to San Diego.

Turns out Cole's dad died two years ago, and the worn Nike shirt is something he totes everywhere to keep his daddy close to his heart.

As adults, sometimes our kids' lovies can drive us a little nuts. They want to carry them everywhere; they won't let us wash them ... Other adults don't get them; they're just THINGS; how could they be that important?

Most lovies don't have the kind of loss connection to them that Cole's does, but the relationship between this boy and his dad's shirt is a prime example of what kids get from a lovie. They're reassuring. They're moral support. They're a solid link to something ... or in Cole's case, someone.

Cole's mom told ABC News he sprays dad Bryan's cologne on the shirt, sings to it, and cuddles with it nightly. Picturing that little boy clinging tight to the one thing that connects him to his Daddy has me in tears today.

I remember one evening when my husband had to go somewhere suddenly for an emergency, and my daughter was absolutely distraught. He pulled out an old stuffed cat that he'd kept from childhood and gave it to her. It worked. She cuddled right up with that bedraggled cat, and went off to sleep.

For weeks after that, even though my husband was home and fine, she kept that thing close by. I realized she didn't just want that thing; she needed it to work through some things. Eventually, she let go, and it now sits in her bedroom.

She was lucky. My husband was right there to reassure her. For little Cole, that shirt is the only thing he has. So you can imagine what it was like for him when it was gone.

I can't say enough about the kind of people who apparently went digging in garbage cans and more to recover his Daddy shirt. A pilot at Delta even apparently contacted ground control himself so they would talk to the folks at the gate about getting Cole's beloved shirt back. It was eventually found -- in the trash -- and Cole has his shirt back.

I wonder if these people were parents, if they understood the connection between a child and a lovie, if they got that this wasn't just any shirt. This was a shirt that represents a child's love for his Daddy.

Check out Cole and his beloved shirt:

Does your child have a connection to something like Cole's Daddy shirt?

 

Image via ABC