Photo by Sherri Butcher

A heartwarming new friendship has blossomed between two strangers thanks to a simple necktie bringing them together in a time of grief.

Kevin Butcher and his wife Sherri had been shopping for neckties at a Walmart in Milford, Ohio so he could wear it to his father’s funeral later in the week.

After they had picked out the proper attire, they both realized that neither of them knew how to tie a tie.

Kevin then noticed that one of his fellow shoppers, an older man who had been browsing some nearby toy shelves, was wearing a tie—so he approached the man and asked for help.

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“We both thought he might think we were crazy… but we were both so wrong,” Sherri later recounted on Facebook. “This sweet man did not hesitate when Kevin explained why he needed help and proceeded to put the tie around his neck. He joked with him about [how it] might take all day to get it right… but he was determined.”

“After a few tries of getting the right length, he gently pulled it back over Kevin’s head and thanked HIM for letting him do this!! He reached to shake hands with him and then pulled Kevin in close to hug him and tell him how sorry he was to hear about losing his dad.

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“He looked at me and said ‘take good care of him’ and he walked away,” Sherri continued. “Kevin and I both walked away quietly as we were both having a hard time fighting back the tears.”

Despite how touched they were by the emotional exchange, it would not be their last encounter with the man. After Sherri wrote about the experience on Facebook, local reporters were able to identify the man as Howell Hackler. They then orchestrated a tearful exchange between him and the Butchers the very next day.


“Meeting these two guys again—it’s great because I didn’t ever think I’d see [them] again,” Hackler told WKRC.

Several days later, the Butchers arrived at the funeral of Kevin’s father only to find that Hackler had stopped by to pay his respects and say a prayer for the family—and they were overwhelmed with gratitude for the support.

“There are just no words to explain how Kevin and I felt this morning,” Sherri wrote in a separate Facebook post. “This man is an absolute ANGEL on Earth!!!!”

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