One young man put a smile on the face of an elderly woman last week when he joined her for a meal and ended up helping her celebrate her wedding anniversary.
Jamario Howard was in a restaurant in Oxford, Alabama, with his friends when he noticed the woman eating by herself. In an act of kindness, Howard approached the woman (who remains unnamed) and asked if it was okay if he took a seat.
When she said yes, the pair struck up a conversation. After learning that the woman was a widow who would've been celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary the next day, Howard invited her to come and eat with himself and his friends. The three young men enjoyed a meal with their new friend, not realizing that their story was about to go viral. According to the Daily Mail, Howard took to Facebook to share what happened.
In the candid post, Howard explained his encounter with the stranger, praising her with changing his outlook on life. He also encouraged others to visit their parents and grandparents, because it's likely that they're being missed. Over 33,000 people saw the original post, which received spades of comments commending the trio for the behavior.
According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), more than a third of adults over 45 are lonely. The national survey suggested that when it comes to social contact, humans just can't get enough of it. A reported 24% of people over 70 feel isolated. Surprisingly, the research suggests that social media has a part to play, as those who used it to communicate frequently tended to have less real-life social interaction.
There has been a rise in awareness on the subject, especially in the UK. Charities such as Age UK encourage volunteers to reach out in their local community and befriend elderly people that don't have family or friends or are perhaps too frail to leave the house. It might seem like a tiny thing, but reaching out and making a phone call can improve a person's life dramatically if they don't have anyone to talk to.
We could all take a leaf out of Howard's book on this one. His small gesture made one woman's day a whole lot better.