Though Chastity Patterson lost her surrogate father four years ago, the 23-year-old woman still texted his number every day to share updates about her life.
But, what Patterson didn’t expect was the response she received on Thursday, the night before the fourth anniversary of his death.
“I text my dad every day to let him know how my day goes, for the past four years!” Patterson posted on Facebook. “Today was my sign that everything is OK and I can let him rest!”
In the screenshots of her text messages, Patterson shares how she managed to finish college, beat cancer and recover from heartbreak. In the unexpected response from her dad’s number, Patterson received a heartfelt message from a man named Brad who tragically lost his own daughter in a car accident several years ago.
“My name is Brad and I lost my daughter in a car wreck August 2014 and your messages have kept me alive. When you text me, I know it’s a message from God. I’m sorry you lost someone so close to you, but I have listened to you for years and I have watched you grow more than anyone,” Brad said.
“I have wanted to text you back for years, but I didn’t want to break your heart.”
Brad went on to call Patterson “an extraordinary woman,” sharing that he wishes his daughter could have grown up to become the woman she is.
“Thank you for your everyday updates, you remind me that there is a God and it wasn’t his fault that my little girl is gone. He gave me you, my little angel and I knew this day was coming,” he writes. “I’m sorry you have to go through this, but if it makes it any better, I am very proud of you!”
The post has since amassed 141,000 likes and 19,000 commenters.
On Saturday, Patterson posted an update on Facebook, explaining that while Jason Ligons, who passed away at age 36 in a car accident in 2015, was not her biological father, “blood could not make him any closer.”
Sharing that she has “known him my whole life,” Patterson says Jason put her to work at his skating rink to keep her out of trouble.
By the time she was in 6th grade, he was introducing her as his daughter.
“And from that moment on he was a dad to me,” she writes. “I didn't share my messages to gain anything and I didn't share them because I was looking for a father, I had one and I still have my real dad. I shared my messages for my friends and family to see that there is a God and it might take four years, but he shows up right on time!”
Patterson has not yet responded to Yahoo’s request for comment.