After Waving to a Little Girl for 3 Years, a Train Conductor Had to Find Out Why She Was Gone

little girl waving at train
Briana Hefley Shepard/Facebook

Three years ago, Briana Shepard's business moved to a new location that happened to be along train tracks. This meant that every day, she and her toddler, Rio, got front row seats for exciting locomotive action. Watching the passing trains quickly blossomed into a beloved tradition, and Rio became friends with men that she never met but always waved to.

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"Rio lives for it. It didn't take long for the conductors to notice Rio waving to them and for them to return those waves. As time progressed, it became their ritual," Briana wrote on Facebook. "They'd blow their whistles, she'd run to the window, they'd open their windows, and everyone would wave and smile ear to ear. I teared up almost every single time."

girl waves to train
Briana Hefley Shepard/Facebook

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However, a few weeks ago Rio started school and Briana admits that the transition to her being away during the day was more difficult than she originally expected. It hit her the hardest the first time the train passed and Rio wasn't there to eagerly wave. "They blew their whistles, they opened their windows, but I was the only one standing there just crying and weakly waving," she wrote. "The next day I made a sign. I simply wrote, 'She started school.' I heard the whistle, ran to the window, and held up my sign."

It's been three weeks since Rio stopped waving to the conductors, and when a man knocked on the store's door, Briana assumed the stranger in a vibrant yellow shirt with earplugs was a construction worker. "I was wrong. He was there to ask about the little girl with the blonde hair that waved to the trains," she wrote. "He was one of the conductors and they'd all been wondering what had happened to her."

The conductors had seen Briana's sign but couldn't make out what it said so they needed to check to make sure that the child who brightened their days was okay. "Today they'd had a short train, so they stopped down the tracks, walked to our building, and knocked on our door. Oh did I cry," she wrote. "He said that her waves had made their days. For three years they'd shared these moments."

train passing window
Briana Hefley Shepard/Facebook

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The man explained that the conductors all miss Rio and asked Briana if they could send her something. She mentioned that Rio's birthday is in a few weeks and now they plan on mailing her a special surprise. "Witnessing their unconventional friendship over the past several years has been nothing short of magical," she wrote. "To know it impacted them just as much as it impacted us, fills me with love and hope."

The conductor's unexpected visit as well as their ongoing kindness toward Rio reaffirmed Briana's faith in humanity, and their special connection is something that this mom won't soon forget.

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