When a young man named Eric Haralson was eating at a local McDonald’s one day, he witnessed a group of teens blow off an elderly woman’s attempts at conversation.
While the teens didn’t mock or harass the woman, her polite questions to start up a conversation were shut down fairly quickly. Instead of engaging with her, the group made it clear that they weren’t there to entertain someone who just seemed a little lonely.
“One of the kids had a man bun and she was very intrigued by it and asked what made him come up with that hairstyle,” Haralson later told Good Morning America. “They didn’t take to her that much … she said, ‘What? did I scare them off?’ I said, ‘I guess you did.’”
Two strangers who shared a meal at an Indiana McDonald's have won the hearts of people across the globe. Amanda Craft, a…
After witnessing that, Haralson knew he could do better. So when she asked if she could sit with him, he warmly welcomed her to share his table—and another customer couldn’t help but take a surreptitious photo when they saw how sweet the interaction was.
“Shout out to this guy!” the fellow diner, a local teacher named Amanda Craft, wrote in a caption of the photo on social media.
“This elderly lady came up to him and asked if she could sit with him. Without hesitation, this guy said, ‘of course.’ My friends and I watched him introduce himself and shake her hand. They talked and laughed together like they were friends.”
The moment went viral as social media users across the globe expressed their joy at the power of kindness. The photo Craft had snapped, which showed the 28-year-old Haralson smiling and laughing as he chatted with the woman, clearly depicted a pair looking past the typical skin-deep stereotypes both likely undergo often and forging a true friendship.
Many users had commented about how wonderful it was to see something like this happening, and that the world needed more of this sweet exchange. Others called it a random act of kindness, and that it should be more frequent. A few were quick to share their own experiences with similar situations. The post was flooded with feel-good comments as well as praise for the man, who was more than happy to welcome a conversation with an elderly woman who needed someone to talk to.
The woman, who introduced herself to Haralson as Jan, didn’t give any indication that she had a significant other or children.
She seemed delighted to hear about his own girlfriend and kids, though, he told Good Morning America. Her obvious interest in his life and the people who made him happy showed that maybe all she needed was someone to talk to.
It was refreshing to see such a kind exchange between two strangers—the moment seemed to touch a bunch of people because of the sheer kindness that was displayed. It’s not easy to come by, and when it does, it becomes a moment that lives with everyone. “I think that’s what people are hungry to see is the kindness of others,” Craft said to Good Morning America.
The two talked for about 45 minutes before they exchanged numbers, hoping to stay in contact later on. The exchange gave insight as to the kind of person Jan was, and after the encounter, Haralson said that he could feel that she was a firecracker, according to Good Morning America. “She will tell you exactly how she feels and has no problem being outgoing.”
In the aftermath, Haralson reached out to let Jan know how many people had resonated with their encounter. But in a move that truly showed what a good person he was, he didn’t stop there. If she gets back in touch with him, he plans to invite her out to get breakfast again some time.
“I don’t know if she has anyone else in her life and I want to reach out to her as much as I can,” he insisted.
The power of kindness doesn’t need to be a huge gesture, that much is clear!