Brea Schmidt, from the US, who blogs at The Thinking Branch, said her daughter was desperate to win a Poppy doll. She had to pay $1 for three tickets, in the hope that one of the tickets had a winning number.
But after numerous attempts, her daughter kept losing.
“She knew it was her last dollar, and on the very last ticket she had, she opened it slowly, holding it up close to her face to peek inside to see if the magic number was there,” Schmidt wrote on Facebook on Friday 21 July.
“But it wasn’t. Again. And despite her efforts to hold it in, she fell into my arms in tears.”
Schmidt said she held her daughter, while she was sobbing, and understood her disappointment at not getting the toy.
“I considered helping her avoid that sadness by standing at the booth and paying whatever I needed to until until my daughter won,” the mum continued.
“But finally, about ten seconds into our hug, I got to a point where I knew I had to keep that dollar bill in my pocket and give her the life lesson speech.
“The one about not winning all of the time. About accepting there are things that you want, and no matter hard you try, you still might not get them.”
While Schmidt was speaking to her daughter, another woman approached the pair and said she was going to use her dollar to give the game one more try.
Schmidt said the woman grabbed a dollar from her wallet, bought three tickets and opened a winning one.
“The look on my daughter’s face was the absolute best,” Schmidt said.
“Nothing but pure, five-year-old thrill shining through the leftover tears and snot on her face. She picked out her doll, hugged and thanked the woman, asked to call my husband to tell him about it, and halfway through the walk to our car said: ‘Mummy I can’t believe I have Poppy’.”
That night, Schmidt wanted to make sure her daughter learnt a lesson from the experience - albeit a different one than she had first intended.
“I asked her: ‘What do you remember about that lady who bought you the extra tickets?’” Schmidt wrote.
“She said: ‘She did something nice for me.’ Me: ‘And how did that feel?’. Her: ‘Really good’.
“Me: ‘So what did you learn about what you should you do the next time you see someone sad?’
“Her: ‘Do something for them so they’re not sad anymore.’”
The Facebook post touched many who read it and had nearly 9,000 likes in four days.
“I have no idea why I’m crying reading this,” one mother wrote.
“Maybe because raising five kids and always worrying you’re teaching them to do the right thing and be kind people is hard work. Important life lessons and powerful meanings right there.”