Every day, the small girl waved to the trains that passed by her house: Three years later, the railway drivers observed a sign at the small girl’s window and knew they had to act quickly.

The phrase “you never know how deeply you care about someone until you lose them” is as true as it gets and may be applicable in a variety of situations. For some locomotive mechanics in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that someone was a little girl named Rio, who waved her hand every day from a window next to the railroad lines.

The railway drivers noticed Rio was no longer appearing at the window three years after they began responding to the girl’s greeting. Instead, they were able to see a sign, which devastated their hearts.

Briana Hefley Shepard shared the touching story on the Love What Matters Facebook page, and you can read it in its entirety below:

“About three years ago, our family business relocated to the new location. Because the building is right along the railway lines, we have a great view of all the engines passing by. Rio is obsessed with it.”

“It didn’t take long for the locomotive drivers to notice Rio was waving her hand, and they responded to her greeting. This became their daily practice over time. When she heard them ring the trumpet, she dashed to the window, the locomotive window was opened, and everyone waved and smiled. “They almost always brought tears to my eyes.”

“Then Rio started school a few weeks ago.”

“The shift to a daily school routine upset me more than I had anticipated, but the worst was on the first day when the train passed and she was not there.”

“The mechanics rang the horn, opened the windows, but I was the sole one sitting there crying and waving my hand. I made a sign the next day. I just typed, “‘School has begun.’ When I heard the locomotive whistle, I dashed to the window and grabbed the cardboard. That happened three weeks ago. “

“This morning, as I was walking into the store, someone knocked on the door. It was a man in a light yellow shirt with earbuds hanging from his ears. Because that’s what we do here, I figured it was a construction worker who came to chat about a job. I was mistaken. The man came to inquire about the blond-haired girl who waved at trains.

“She was one of us, and everyone was wondering what had happened to her. They had an incomplete set today, so they came to our building and knocked on the door. They saw my message but couldn’t make out what it said. They assumed school had begun, but they needed to double-check. The man informed me that her greeting brightened their days. They shared these experiences for three years.”

“Seeing their strange friendship over the last five years has been simply magical. Knowing that these people are suffering in the same way that we are fills my heart with love and hope. Today’s visit, as well as their connection with Rio, restored my faith in goodness and humanity. These are the moments we shall never forget.”

Rio will never forget looking out the window at the trains, waving to the mechanics, and hearing them blow the locomotive’s whistle just for her.

Little acts of kindness mean a lot, as the train workers demonstrated to this little girl, forever changing her life.

This is a fantastic story about friendship and how small gestures can make a big difference – we should never be afraid to do something good for a stranger.

Please forward this article to your friends and family!