Kind-Hearted Nurse Cuddles Frightened 5-Year-Old Boy after Surgery When His Mother Couldn’t Be There

In a heartwarming photo that became a viral sensation, a nurse captivated hearts with her sweet gesture for a crying little boy. Even the youngster’s mom couldn’t help but tear up when she witnessed the beautiful moment. Keep scrolling to discover the complete story.


In May 2019, Slade Thompson, from Clinton County, Renovo, Pennsylvania, was admitted to the UPMC Susquehanna Williamsport Regional Medical Center for tonsillectomy—the process of removing tonsils—an incredibly frightening experience for him.

Although it wasn’t the first time Slade was in the hospital, he still had difficulty shaking off the fear because he was only five years old at the time. His mom, Layla Thompson, shared that her son was diagnosed with an unrelated condition at the age of two and had visited many doctors and hospitals ever since.

Undergoing Surgery

Layla noted that when her son began walking, he didn’t exert weight on his feet and walked only on his toes. Eventually, the boy reached a stage where he faced difficulty putting his heels on the ground, for which he had to undergo surgery for his Achilles tendon in January 2019.

After some time, he fell asleep, and that was when his mom saw the beautiful moment from the window.

After that, he had to use a wheelchair for some time, followed by learning how to walk, much like a tot taking steps for the first time. He had barely recovered from his last ordeal when on April 18, he had to have his tonsils removed to aid his breathing.

Comforting the Crying Boy

While Slade’s parents tried their best to stay beside him every step of the way, they had to wait outside while he underwent the procedure. Fortunately, the surgery was successful, but before his family could meet him, the doctors had to check Slade’s vitals and ensure everything was fine.


So, while Layla and her fiancé waited outside, Slade woke up after surgery and was writhing in pain and fear. Annie Hager, a nurse at the hospital, said that when he gained consciousness, he cried and repeatedly asked for his mother.

Annie told the boy that his mom was sitting outside and would be with him soon. Then he looked at her and whispered, “I really want to snuggle. Will you snuggle with me?” Without a second thought, Annie told Slade she would gladly do so and climbed on the bed to cuddle him.

For a good five to ten minutes, Annie gave the little boy a comforting hug, which worked wonders as he melted into her warm embrace. After some time, he fell asleep, and that was when his mom saw the beautiful moment from the window.

Clicking A Photo of the Heartwarming Moment

Upon taking permission from the kind-hearted nurse, Layla clicked a photo while trying her best not to have an emotional breakdown. She couldn’t help but wonder if Annie was a mother; interestingly enough, when the two women conversed, Annie told Layla that she was a mom of two.


“One hundred percent I would want someone to be there for my child,” added the UPMC nurse. Layla couldn’t help but appreciate Annie’s random gesture of kindness for her boy, thinking that had she been in her place, she would have done the same.

The Pennsylvania mother said her fiancé saw her tearing up and couldn’t help but reciprocate those feelings because it was heart-touching. Although Annie could have easily refused to cuddle Slade because it wasn’t a part of her job, she went out of her way to make him feel better.

Even better was how the sweet moment of affection warmed Annie’s heart; she said she couldn’t help her tears from falling when Slade gave her a big hug and sought comfort in her arms.

Going Viral

The photo that Layla took went viral, alongside another picture of Slade and Annie flashing bright smiles. The two images were shared on UPMC’s official Facebook page in an emotional post on May 8, 2019. A part of the caption read:

“As a nurse, providing care is one thing, but making sure our patients are calm and comfortable matters just as much. It’s nurses like Annie – who show true compassion – that keep our patients happy.”

The Online Support

As of December 26, 2022, the viral post has amassed 5.1k reactions, 645 shares, and more than 200 comments. Here are a few messages worth mentioning:

“It brought tears to me too!! Such a loving girl!!”
— (@sue.l.gerber) May 8, 2019

“You are a wonderful person Annie, the world needs more people like you. Slade was lucky to have you by his side when he woke up. God bless you.”
– (@victoria.west.980) May 14, 2020

“That’s beautiful! We need more people in the world like her.”
— (@tara.crawford.52) May 9, 2019

“Annie I’m so proud of the beautiful, compassionate young woman you have become. What a heart you have for nursing!”
— (@kathy.stauffer.3) May 8, 2019

In a follow-up visit after a few days, Slade was thrilled to meet his new friend, Ms. Annie, for whom he had brought two special gifts—flowers and a bear hug. Annie said she was humbled by all the love Slade showered her with. As for us, we can’t help but dote on this one-of-a-kind friendship!

If you feel the same way, please share your feedback on Facebook. Click here to read another story about a police officer who comforted a one-year-old boy after receiving a 911 call, and the sweet moment went viral.


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