Inspire

Little Girl Waves At Trains For Years — What Happened When She Stopped Will Touch Your Heart.

She Was Clueless

She Was Clueless

Briana Hefley Shepard / Facebook

It had caught her off guard, and for a moment, she was lost for words. She had no idea that her actions or her family’s actions would have such a profound impact on others. But it had been happening for so many years, and she was completely unaware. But now that she knew, she had no idea what to do about it. Despite her best efforts, nothing would ever be the same again, and this made her very sad, indeed.

Born And Bred

Born And Bred

Alrac Electric Inc.

Briana Hefley Shepard had grown up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a native, she had formed a close bond with her community. Her parents owned Alrac Electric, a construction company located east of downtown in the Pearl District. For 3 decades, the Hefley family watched as the neighborhood went from crime-ridden and rundown to young, cool, and safe. But she could never have imagined that this required them to make some changes too.

All Hands On Deck

All Hands On Deck

Alrac Electric Inc.

Shepard’s parents owned and operated Alrac Electric. This proved to be a win-win for her husband, Brent, who worked there as an electrician. But shepard didn’t work for the family business full-time. She made a living as an ESL teacher. Since a lot of her classes were in the afternoon, she worked at the office and performed several tasks in the morning. But when the time came to move the business, it was all hands on deck.

Time To Start Packing

Time To Start Packing

Tulsa World

Fortunately, the Hefleys had nothing to worry about since business was booming for Alrac Electric. And things got even better as the neighborhood continued to grow. But that also created some challenges. Shepard’s folks wanted to expand the warehouse and shop’s space, but there wasn’t enough room in the building to make this happen. So, after 30 years, the family decided to move the business away from the Pearl District. Shepard had no way of knowing that this would unleash a chain of events.

A Fresh Start

A Fresh Start

Alrac Electric Inc.

In 2014, Alrac Electric opened their doors on South Victor Avenue. The building at the new location was 100 years old, but it had plenty of space. It wasn’t very far from the original location either. So, the Shepard and Hefley families got back to their original routine. Shepard even brought her two-year-old daughter, Rio, to work every morning. Now, you might assume that a toddler would find a construction company boring, but she didn’t.

She Lived For It

She Lived For It

Bifftastica

The new building was located next to the railroad tracks, which offered tons of activity from freight trains and passengers alike. This caught little Rio’s attention. “We get a front row seat to all of the locomotive action,” explained Shepard. “My daughter lives for it.” Rio stood on the window sill and waved at the passing trains with enthusiasm each and every morning. But she wasn’t the only one who benefitted from this routine.

Wave Back

Wave Back

Bifftastica

“It didn’t take long for the conductors to notice her waving to them and for them to return those waves,” Shepard recalled. “As time progressed, it became their ritual. 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.” Shepard loved watching her daughter do this, and it made her heart flutter when she saw how happy she was. But she didn’t realize how her actions touched other. But that all changed three years later.

A Surprise Visit

A Surprise Visit

The Chainsmokers / YouTube

On September 2017, Shepard walked into the office the way she always did every morning. A minute later, someone knocked on the door. She was all alone, but she opened the door. “It was a man in a bright yellow shirt with earplugs hanging down,” she recalled. “I assumed he was a construction worker coming to talk construction.” But when the man spoke, she immediately knew that he wasn’t there to talk about business.

The Wave Was Gone

The Wave Was Gone

Bifftastica

Four-year-old Rio had started school three weeks earlier. This meant she could no longer greet the trains each and every morning. But the train conductors had no idea this was the case. Shepard felt bad the first day that Rio was not in the office. She heard the trains whistle as they passed by, but Rio wasn’t around to wave at them. So, Shepard created a sign that read: “She started school.” She had put it up on the window, but forgot it was there until that fateful morning in September.

Where Was She?

Where Was She?

theNOVABUSfan / YouTube

The surprise visitor wasn’t a construction worker but rather a train conductor. “He was there to ask about the little girl with the blonde hair that waved to the trains,” explained Shepard. The other train conductors had been clueless as to the little girl’s whereabouts too. But they were certain she hadn’t been around for three weeks. They had also seen Shepard’s sign, but it was too far from their line of sight for them to read it. So, they sent someone to find out what happened, and this made Shepard cry.

She Was Missed

She Was Missed

Brent Shepard / Facebook

“He said that her waves had made their days,” explained Shepard. “For three years they’d shared these moments.” Shepard was so touched by the train conductor’s confession that it brought her to tears. And the man had one request. “They want to do something for her; they miss her. He asked if they could send her something.” Fortunately, the man lucked out.

For Her Birthday

For Her Birthday

Brent Shepard / Facebook

In a couple of weeks, Rio was going to turn five. So, Shepard suggested the train conductors send her a present for her birthday. She even invited them to her party. Unfortunately, they couldn’t make it, but they were able to drop off a couple of train-themed gifts. “We enjoyed a small backyard party with a few family and friends and lots of train-themed activities for the afternoon,” said Shepard. But this was just the beginning.

It Went Viral

It Went Viral

Bifftastica

Shepard was so moved by the train conductors that she wrote a post on Facebook. But she never expected it to become quite so popular. “It was overwhelming and amazing,” she shared. “For the first time EVER, I didn’t see any negative comments on a viral post; it was all beautifully positive.” And then, something else happened that was totally unbelievable.

Impact On Her Daughter

Impact On Her Daughter

E! Online

News outlets from all over the country started reaching out to Shepard. But she was concerned about the influence all the media exposure would have on her daughter. “I only communicated with Good Morning America, but in the end, I didn’t feel right about sharing her story with the world any further in that manner,” she said. Regardless, the story she conveyed had made a positive impact with tons of people.

Unconventional Friendship

Unconventional Friendship

Brent Shepard / Facebook

“Witnessing their unconventional friendship over the past several years has been nothing short of magical,” Shepard wrote on her blog. “To know it impacted them just as much as it impacted us fills me with love and hope. The visit today and their ongoing kindness to my daughter has reaffirmed my faith in goodness and humanity. These are moments we’ll always remember.”

Article originally posted by lifebuzz.

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