A Connecticut couple who lost their baby boy to cancer marked his second birthday by buying dinner for a family of strangers celebrating the birthday of their own young son.
Shane and MaryJo Dunn said their son Luke lost his battle with cancer when he was just 17 months old. MaryJo Dunn told managers at First and Last Restaurant in Glastonbury that Saturday would have been Luke's second birthday.
Dunn and her husband, Shane, said the last few months have been the toughest of their lives. The couple told NBC Connecticut they wanted to celebrate Luke's birthday by performing an act of kindness to keep his spirit alive. They called it "Love 4 Luke."
"He was nothing but pure joy and love and we wanted to pass that feeling along," said MaryJo Dunn.
The Dunns gave a $50 gift card to family dining at First and Last Restaurant with a little boy who looked to be around Luke's age.
They left before the family could thank them for their generosity and read the card they left behind, which described Luke's journey and asked the family to pay it forward in his memory.
The recipients — out that night to celebrate their own son's third birthday — were nearly in tears.
"It makes you think that there truly is a connection that none of us can comprehend," Shane Dunn said.
The family at First and Last purchased a gift card of their own to buy dinner for another family, according to restaurant manager Max Rickis.
"I just kind of hope that more people take a chapter out of her book and look at things in a bigger light and just want to do better for people that they don’t even know," Rickis said.
MaryJo and Shane Dunn said that while they will always miss Luke’s big blue eyes and loving personality, inspiring others to perform small gestures for strangers really does make a difference.
"We always will for the rest of our lives do things to honor Luke," MaryJo Dunn said.