This perfect stranger showed the ultimate sign of respect to the man, and his family will be eternally grateful.
Vietnam War veteran Phillip "Paw Paw" Dooley Sr. lost his battle with cancer just a few days after Thanksgiving in 2017. His family was utterly devastated at his loss, as he had always been the bedrock of his family.
As reported by Good Inside Us, his granddaughter, Shelby Sams, spoke of how shocking it was for the family to lose him when he was only 65 years old.
On the day of the funeral, a procession of about 30 cars was making its way to the Fort Custer National Cemetery in Battle Creek from Langeland Memorial Chapel in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan.
As they were moving slowly, many cars sped up to drive past them, and some others pulled over to the side of the road to allow them past. But there was one car that caught the attention of the family.
An unknown man pulled over to the side of the road among the other cars, but rather than just waiting for the procession to pass, he actually got out of his car.
There he stood, at the side of the road, with his head bowed and his hands clasped together in a sign of respect for the departed war veteran. He stood that way as the entire procession passed him.
Shelby and her sister, Courtney Steffler, burst into tears when they saw what the man was doing for their grandfather.
Another one of Dooley's grandchildren snapped a photo of the kind stranger, and shared it to Facebook in an appeal to find the man.
“My Grandfather was a simple man. He worked harder than anybody I’ve ever met—he loved even harder. This photo of the man showing respect, speaks volumes. It’s very rare to see in today’s society,” Garrick Dooley wrote.
Shelby agreed, saying she would love to shake the man's hand and take him to dinner to thank him for what he did for her grandfather.
But that wasn't the only significant factor about the man. When the family looked closer at the image, they realized that the man had been driving a Cadillac. One of Dooley's favorite "personal anthems" had been Daddy was Never a Cadillac Kind.
The song even played at his funeral! The family chose to take it as a sign from their Paw Paw that he was safe in Heaven and looking down over them.
“I believe he was there and that was really the perfect message for him and maybe from him,” Steffler added.
The family still hopes that they may be able to track the man down and thank him for lifting their spirits on that awful day they had to bury Dooley.
Even if they can't find him, they hope that the story of the man's wonderful gesture will inspire others as a reminder that a small gesture can go a very long way for someone else.