One dad’s special date with his daughter is a message for fathers worldwide.

A father’s value to his daughter is often understated but not overrated. He’s a protector, confidant and plays a key role in how she’ll love herself and others.

However, according to the Washington Times, fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father.

Dinner with daddy’s little girl

One single dad who went by the username ‘Takopoke’ on Imgur, made sure he wouldn’t be one of them. Per Maketosimplify, he was taking out his six-year-old girl to the Spaghetti Factory for a daddy-daughter date.

Unbeknownst to them, they had plenty of company.

That is until the waitress came by and slipped the dad a note.

Hi there! Sorry to spy, but my husband and I saw you out with your little date and were so impressed with what a great dad you are.

– Random note to father

The note continued to say,“From two adults who grew up without dads, it’s so important to have a male role model at a young age. Keep up the good work, Dad! Dinner is on us!:)”

It turns out that everyone in the restaurant noticed the sweet, doting dad, including one couple who were inspired to reach out.

Overwhelming response

The father was beyond moved.

“I wont lie, I teared up at the table. So, thank you, random strangers. Thank you,” he posted on Imgur.

The post garnered over 1 million views and hundreds of awestruck comments.

“What you are doing matters, please continue being an awesome dad to your little girl,” wrote one.

“This made me tear reading it, because my son’s father barely comes to see him anymore. It makes me happy to know men like you exist,” lamented another.

Being a good father sets the example for all

Yet another pointed out just how far a father’s love goes.

The way you treat her will determine what kind of man she looks for when she is older. You’re doing a good job 🙂 (I grew up w/o a dad)

– Commenter on Imgur

The father’s love and kindness not only helps build a confident, self-assured adult, it sets an example for a world that’s watching.

Maybe it’s an expecting father wondering what to do. Maybe it’s an estranged dad wondering where to start. Whoever it is, one look over at the father and daughter at the restaurant, and the recipe’s clear: Be present, be loving and never, ever leave her side.

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Setting a good example can inspire others to do the same.