When Jamario Howard went out to dinner at Brad’s Bar-B-Que in Oxford, Alabama with two friends on April 18, he spotted an elderly woman dining alone. Wondering if she would like some company, the 23-year-old asked if he could sit with her for a while. The woman, who introduced herself as Eleanor, obliged his request and also revealed that she was a widow who would have been celebrating her 60th wedding anniversary the next day.
Touched by her story, Howard invited Eleanor to eat with him and his friends, JaMychol Baker and Tae Knight.
Howard shared a photo of the group enjoying their meal together alongside a plea to always be kind to strangers. His post has since gone viral, racking up more than 189,00o reactions, more than 18,000 comments and more than 53,000 shares:
Howard explained that when he saw Eleanor alone, he wondered if she might be lonely.
“My exact thought was, ‘dang, I’d hate to heave to eat alone,'” he wrote.
When he gave Eleanor his condolences and invited her to join him and his friends, she was excited to do so.
“The point in this is always be kind and be nice to people,” he wrote. “You never know what they are going through. This woman changed my outlook on life and how I look at other people. Everyone has a story so do not judge!”
Meeting Eleanor also reminded Howard to spend more time with loved ones, such as parents and grandparents.
“And people I can’t stress this enough. GO SEE YOUR MOM AND YOUR GRANDPARENTS. They miss you!!” he added.
Aww! What a sweet story!
During their meal, the group touched on a number of topics, including Eleanor’s grandchildren, her volunteer work at a local hospital, and sports.
“It was a good in-the-moment thing,” Howard told NBC’s “Today” of the experience. “It really changed our outlook.”
The Facebook post has received thousands of comments, with people around the country chiming in on the sweet story.
“Definitely could use more people like you in this crazy world. What a thoughtful thing to do,” one commenter wrote. Another responded, “We all need to be kind to all that we meet. Thank you for sharing.”
And a third person wrote, “You all are wonderful men! Thank you so much!!”
The story touched a lot of hearts because Craft’s post was shared thousands of times. And through the power of social media, the two people were identified as 70-year-old Jan and 28-year-old Eric Haralson.
Haralson, a father who lives in Noblesville, said he was just as grateful for Jan’s company as she must have been of his, and he said the widespread response to the photo has been a “humbling experience.”
“She didn’t have to sit and eat with me, there were many people there, but she decided she wanted to spend that hour and a half of her day with me, and likewise,” Haralson told People.
It just goes to show that it never hurts to show some kindness! Who knows? You could get a new friendship out of it.