AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- "I don't know you. I don't know your name, your religion, your race ... but I know you're trying your best in this challenge called life."
When Lonnie Paul and his 23-year-old daughter finished their grocery shopping at Hannaford in Augusta Monday night, they headed back to the parking lot to pack their bags into their car.
What they found instead was a small, heart-shaped balloon with the words, "I love you," on it, attached to an envelope on their windshield.
The words "Dear stranger" were written across the envelope with a full-page letter inside.
"We sat there and read it, and we were just like, 'wow.'"
The handwritten note was a plea to keep going through the hard times, and a reminder that Lonnie and his daughter are strong for making it this far.
I don't know you. I don't know your name, your religion, your race, or even if you will truly read this. But I know you're trying your best in this challenge called life. It's been hard, discouraging, and overall soul crushing at times. Despite all of this you have endured for whatever reason, you told the world, '**** you' and kept going. Thank you, thank you, for not truly giving up. I don't know how I know this but it will get better for you. Keep going. Keep everyone you love as close as you can. Today I had to say goodbye to a friend I care about. I don't know when I will see her again but I know she will live a good life. I hope. In my conclusion I wish you to keep pushing, not just for you but for those around you. We all want to be loved and cared for in this world. If we all truly knew that we would be better off as a society. In your own way I want you to open your heart to someone as I've tried to you. I love you for your humanity. - Taylor.
What Taylor didn't know was that just moments before, Lonnie and his daughter were at the checkout line when they discovered they didn't have enough money to pay.
"We ran short in the store," said Lonnie. "We felt a little downhearted, and the store gave us store credit. When we walked out to our car, there was an envelope and balloon."
What Taylor also didn't know was that Lonnie and his family moved to the area from Presque Isle about a month ago. The change has been especially difficult for his daughter, who followed her family for a fresh start.
"It couldn't have hit at a better time to help her see that even strangers can make you feel better without knowing the story of what's going on with you. We have no idea who this person is," he said. "It hit at a time where I think everybody in this family needed something to kind of lift us up."
Lonnie said he couldn't be more thankful for the random act of kindness. He hopes that one day, he'll be able to meet Taylor, wherever they may be.
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