ATLANTA — A mother's story about the kindness of strangers in metro Atlanta has gained the world's attention online, showing that even in these crazy times, there's still good in humanity.
It was a sign that would usually denote an opportunity missed - a child not being able to participate in Halloween because of cancer.
"Cool Costume! Sorry, no candy. Child with cancer," the handwritten sign reads. "Have fun! See you next year!"
It was a sign that would seemingly have meant Halloween became just another day. But the community didn't let that happen.
"I can't stop crying," Courtney Thomas wrote. "If anyone thought there was no hope in our kids and teens, you're wrong."
The doorbell camera, she said, told the story.
"The SOLE Purpose of us putting this sign in our yard today was so kids wouldn't run to our door and be disappointed," she said.
So it seemed odd that kids were stopping at the sign. So they went out and looked. They found a pile of candy - one that grew and grew.
"The picture doesn't do it justice," she said, "it's a LOT and the good stuff even."
Since Courtney shared the story online, its impact has only grown. She edited the posts to thank the hundreds of people who shared the story and the thousands who shared it.
"We serve a mighty and faithful God and we hold tight to the promise of Romans 8:28," she said. "'And we know that for those who love God, all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.''
Courtney also used the moment to share a message important to her that she hopes makes an impression on others.
"Childhood cancer is something we wish no family ever had to endure, but there is so much love, hope, and support," she said.
As for the kids who decided to leave the candy, Courtney hopes this message reaches them as well.
"PLEASE tell them how much it means to us and our kiddos," she said. "On the best candy night of the year kids freely and generously shared with strangers and showed so much love and kindness. So amazing."