A photo of a 2-year-old Nigerian boy is going viral after he lost a race for an absolutely adorable reason.
On Tuesday, Imoh Umoren tweeted a photo of his toddler son, Imoh Umoren II. “My son finished 4th in the race because instead of running across the finish line he ran to hug me,” he wrote. “Ah well won my heart.”
Umoren is an indie film director who lives in Lagos. He told The Huffington Post that Imoh just started attending his school, which held the sports competition this week. He participated in the toddlers category.
“It was his first race, but we had been rehearsing all week in the front yard,” Umoren said. On the day of the race, Imoh had a strong start, but “it sort of fell apart when he spotted me taking a picture of him and came to hug me,” the dad said.
“I think part of it may be that he always ran into my arms while we were doing our little training at home,” he added. “But he’s a bit of a hugger, and maybe to him, that is a natural ending to a race: run into daddy’s arms.”
In that moment, Umoren tried to get his son back on course. “I was telling him to stop, but he couldn’t figure out why he had to,” the dad recalled. “He ran towards me giggling, so I had to explain to him he had to get to the finish line. I don’t think he realized it was a competition!”
Imoh did eventually get back into the race and ultimately finished in fourth place. He had chance to redeem himself when placed third in a later event that day.
Umoren said his son is an incredibly sweet kid. “I’m just really lucky to have him,” he told HuffPost. “One time I was trying to teach him numbers, and he was struggling a bit with it. When he saw I was slightly disappointed, he said ‘I’m sorry’ and gave me a hug. I mean, I cried a little because he earnestly gives everything his best effort.”
The dad said Imoh is very determined and always picks himself up when he falls down (literally). The toddler is also very intuitive.
“He’s a pretty smart kid for his age and can sense when you’re having a bad day and literally come and kiss you and offer you water,” Umeron said, adding, “I’m trying to raise him to be a good man because in a crumbling world we need some sunlight.”