While eating at a McDonald’s, an elderly woman felt lonely. She noticed that a group of rowdy teenagers were at the table next to her, so she figured she’d do what she did in the good old days and strike up a conversation. However, the teenagers did not respect her and refused to give her the time of day. Instead of contributing their half to a joyful conversation, the teens worked as quickly as they could to “escape” her.
Eric Haralson, 28, witnessed the whole thing. He was ashamed on behalf of the teenagers because he could tell that the elderly woman simply wanted someone to have a chat with. Instead of letting the woman suffer for another moment, Haralson stepped in and showed the teenagers what it meant to be a man.
“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 said. “They didn’t take to her that much. She said, ‘What? Did I scare them off?’ I said, ‘I guess you did.’”
Haralson’s presence magnetized the woman. She asked if she could join him. He obliged, and she came to sit across from him where they talked about life, laughed at jokes, and had an overall pleasant exchange.
Through good-old-fashioned conversation, Haralson learned a lot about the senior woman, whom he learned was named Jan. She didn’t like to talk about her life. Instead, she was curious about him and what he was up to. Haralson took this as more proof that she just wanted someone to speak to.
Although many people would not think twice about what Haralson did, another woman at the restaurant noticed. Her name was Marquell Craft, and she watched everything happen. Haralson’s behavior inspired Craft enough to snap a photo and share her observation on Facebook.
Craft wrote, “Shout out to this guy! This elderly lady (seemed to be a little lonely) 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. They didn’t know each other, and they couldn’t be more different. But today they shared a meal together, and it touched our hearts.”
As more and more people read Craft’s words and viewed the photo, they came forward to articulate how Haralson’s generosity touched their hearts.
Haralson enjoyed Jan’s company so much, he asked her out on another breakfast “date” so they could continue growing their friendship.
“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 said.
After the Noblesville, Indiana McDonald’s manager Vanessa Moore saw what Haralson did, she dedicated the table Jan and Haralson used as the “community table,” so people could enjoy “a meal with a friend, old or new.”
With generous people like Eric Haralson in the Millennial generation, we can rest assured that the future is not all lost.
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