Preschooler forms special bond with WWII veteran next door that’s melting hearts

Little kids seem to be the absolute best at making friends. Whether it’s an imaginary one or a real person, they don’t discriminate!

Anyone can be their friend, as long as they promise to play.

For one little boy, the act of friend-making resulted in one of the cutest and most heartwarming friendships that has ever been seen.

Emmett Rychner and Erling Kindem became best friends, even if there is a BIT of an age difference.

Emmet Rychner is a 3-year-old boy that lives in Farmington, Minnesota.

His parents, Bryan and Anika Rychner have lived in the same house for ten years, although they really didn’t have a relationship with many of their neighbors.

As many parents know, however, that just wasn’t an option for them when their son Emmett started meeting people on the street!

When Emmett was just two, he decided he was going to make a friend out of his neighbor, an 89-year-old man named Erling.

“They kind of bonded over the tomatoes in his garden,” Ankia told KARE 11, “because Emmett loves tomatoes.”

For a little kid, it doesn’t take a lot of common ground to make it into their inner circle.

Oh, you grow tomatoes? I guess you are my best friend now!

The little bit of joy that both Emmett and Erling shared over tomatoes was enough to kickstart one of the cutest relationships of all time.

For Erling, it was one of the best parts of his day.

“Every time he saw me out there he would come running over,” laughs Erling, remembering those early visits from the boy next door who would ask, ‘Erling, got any ‘matoes?’” – Kare11

The comical relationship between the child and the elderly World War II vet who flew airplanes over the Atlantic couldn’t have been cuter.

Whether it was “racing” on Erling’s John Deere tractor or simply (trying) to ride bikes together, their relationship continued to deepen.

The two were inseparable, but it was eventually time for a change.

Emmett’s mom went out to tell Erling that they would be moving, only to find herself crying for an hour directly after.

Even more, Erling told Emmett’s mom that he would likely be moving to a senior apartment in order to better see his needs met.

Although the friendship would continue on, it would be from a different vantage.

Sadly, that change would be more than anyone was expecting.

Only a short while later, Erling got sick. With a failing heart, he was admitted into hospice care.

While receiving treatment, there was really only one person that he wanted to see.

As all things do, it was time for the years-long friendship to end.

“He wasn’t afraid to hold his hand and he wasn’t afraid to hug him,” Anika said. “Erling was his friend and he was with him.”

After Erling passed, they broke the news to their son. As you can imagine, his response is a tear-jerker.

He then told his parents, “’We’re just going to have to wait a really long time and then we’ll see him again in heaven,’” Anika shared. “He believes that and we believe that.”

No matter how much time passes, the unlikely pair’s friendship will continue to melt hearts.

Make sure you check out the video below for a heartwarming reminder of what it means to be a friend!

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