A handwritten letter by an 8-year-old Canadian boy apologizing to the Toronto Public Library for accidentally ripping a page in an Asterix comic book has captured the hearts of thousands after the library posted it on social media.
The note, which reads “I am sorry that a page ripped when it fell out of my bed when I fell asleep reading it. It won’t happen again. I’m sorry. From Jackson,” was written by Jackson Dowler who insisted on apologizing because he “felt bad for other kids that might want to read the book.”
“We tried to tape it, but I wrote the note so I could tell the library it was ripped so they could fix it better,” Jackson tells PEOPLE. “Other kids who want to read it don’t want to be missing a page. It was my dad’s favorite book and it’s mine too. It’s full of adventure!”
When Aron Johns first discovered the small envelope addressed simply to ‘Library’ and signed only ‘Jackson’ in blue crayon taped to the comic book in the overnight drop at Toronto Public Library’s Main Street branch on August 14, it immediately piqued his interest.
“I was struck by how genuinely apologetic the mysterious ‘Jackson’ was,” Johns, a public services assistant at the library, tells PEOPLE. “I had a good chuckle over it – it was so charming – and shared it with my supervisor.”
Daniel Colangelo, branch manager, decided to submit the note to their social media department. The post has since gotten more 4,600 likes on the library’s Facebook page and 1,600 shares.
“Initially we didn’t know who Jackson was,” Colangelo tells PEOPLE. “Once it posted to social media on Saturday, August 15, though, I tracked how many likes it got over the weekend and it went viral. By Tuesday we had heard from a woman claiming to be Jackson’s mother.”
Alison Dowler, 36, tells PEOPLE it didn t surprise her when her son Jackson told her he needed to write the library an apology note.
“When it comes to reading, he’s always thinking of other kids,” the mother of three tells PEOPLE. “He’s considerate about other people’s feelings, when we walk down the street, he uses any pocket change he has to drop in the hats of people asking for money.”
On August 19, Jackson was honored by Colangelo, city librarian Vickery Bowles and the rest of the library staff for his selfless actions during a ceremony put on by the library.
“One gentleman, from Ottawa, heard about Jackson’s kind acts on Facebook and actually shipped him a few Asterix comics,” says Colangelo. “He had been a fan himself growing up and thought the story was so heartwarming he wanted to give back to Jackson.”
Jackson says he would consider being a writer when he grows up – but he’s not sure just yet.
“It’s a possibility, because I do love to read, and it’s important for kids to read for half an hour a day,” the 8 year old states. “My friends usually do TV and electronics, but I like reading because it tells an adventure that you can’t get from playing on the iPhone or iPad.”