When Brooke Hayes took her kids out to breakfast, her youngest daughter brought along her favorite toy. But instead of grabbing a Barbie or an electronic, this little girl grabbed her "Daddy doll."
The stuffed pillow features a picture of the child's father and allows her to hug him when she misses him during his deployment. According to Brooke, she likes to bring it on any family adventures. "She will pretend to feed it, talk to it, and act like he is with us until we are reunited as a family again," she shared on the Love What Matters Facebook page.
When strangers walked by their table while the child enjoyed her meal with her "daddy doll" by her side, they all had different reactions. Although some stopped and thanked them for their service as a family, some connected with them about their own days serving in the military, and a few people even cried.
"Men and women leave their families for weeks, months, or a year and many people will never know what that is like," she wrote. "When we got the daddy doll I thought it would be a good way to connect our little ones to their father, but in a way it has connected us to strangers too."