DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Eight year old Myles Eckert began ‘paying it forward’ at an Ohio Cracker Barrel restaurant after he found $20 in the parking lot.

“At first he thought he wanted to use it for a video game,” said his mother, Tiffany Eckert. “Then he thought he would give it to our waitress.”

But then Myles saw a man in uniform walk into the restaurant. Myles knew that is who was going to receive the $20.

“Because he was a soldier,” Myles Eckert said softly. “And soldiers remind me of my dad.”

His dad, U.S. Army Sgt. Andy Eckert, was killed in Iraq when Myles was just over a month old. Myles only knows him from his mother’s stories.

So, the 8-year-old sent the money to the man in uniform with a note saying in part, “My dad was a soldier. He is in heaven now… We like to pay it forward in my family. It’s your lucky day!”

“I taught them when they were little you get better and not bitter and kindness always wins,” Tiffany Eckert said of her children.

The story went viral on the internet.

Following his lead, people sent money to Myles. But the Eckert’s weren’t done paying forward.

“I wanted to continue teach my kids about paying it forward so we decided to take all these gifts — monetary donations — and pay it forward to Snowball Express,” Tiffany Ecker said.

Snowball Express serves children of fallen military members and is headquartered in north Texas.

Now the Eckert’s are touring the country for fund raisers.  They’ve been on national TV shows and national publications.  And one company, Dallas based Highland Capital Management, said it will match up to a million dollars in donations.

Soft-spoken Myles can’t figure out what the fuss is all about.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I just don’t know.”

He just knows his $20 gift gave him one precious thing in return — the most important thing out of all — spending time with his mother.

“You always spent time with me,” she chuckled.

“Spending a lot more time with you,” Myles smiled as he clarified.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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