There are multiple miles and generations in between Emmett and Kindem, but no distance can keep these two from staying lifelong friends.
On Sunday, 4-year-old Emmett Rychner reunited with his best buddy Erling Kindem, a World War II veteran, for Kindem’s 90th birthday celebration, Kare 11 reported.
The Rychner family and Kindem had been neighbors in Farmington, Minnesota, for about a decade but separated when Emmett’s family moved out of town and Kindem went to a retirement home.
"It is very special," Anika Rychner, Emmett's mom, told the news outlet about the pair's relationship.
Emmett’s parents take him for regular trips to see Kindem, but this visit was particularly special. After the partygoers finished singing to Kindem, Emmett presented him with two packages. Inside each was a pair of dog tags -- one read “Emmett & Erling” and the other “Friends Forever.”
Bryan Rychner, Emmett's dad, told ABC that the family and Kindem didn’t actually know each other well until his son took an interest in Kindem’s tomato plants. Whenever he saw Kindem working in the garden, Emmett would wander over.
"Every time he saw me out there, he'd come running over," Erling told KARE 11 last summer. "[Emmett would ask] 'Erling got any 'matoes?'"
Soon, the unlikely pair became the closest of friends, spending time together drawing pictures and riding bikes and lawnmowers. Last summer their friendship became a news sensation.
“You come back again,” Kindem told Emmett and the end of their visit.
“I will eventually,” Emmett replied before giving his friend one more hug, as shown in the clip above. “Happy birthday, Erling.”