One of 2-year-old Benjamin Olson's best friends is his elderly neighbor, who has recently celebrated her 100th birthday. Read on for the story of this incredible friendship.
How they've met
During the pandemic, many children found themselves isolated from their friends and classmates. Parents had to entertain their kids at home themselves. Little Benjamin had no connection to his peers at the time, too, and could only interact with his parents and neighbors.
One of those neighbors is Mary O'Neill, a 99-year-old lady who lives next door. The woman lost her husband 37 years ago and lives all alone. At first, she only waved to Benjamin from the window, then she went out to say hello, and then they started spending a lot of time together:
"Sometimes he gives me some stuff. He makes me feel better," she says.
Despite the huge age gap, the boy and the senior woman quickly found common ground and became friends:
"For more than a year, he didn’t see other kids. He didn’t interact with anyone except our family and Mary. Eventually, they formed an incredibly strong bond," said Benjamin's mom Sarah Olson.
When it was time to celebrate Mary's 100th birthday, she had no qualms about inviting the boy. He was thrilled about the upcoming party!
In addition, many of the old lady's relatives and acquaintances already knew about her special friendship with her neighbor and couldn't wait to meet Benjamin. Mary was given a bag of sweets as a birthday gift, which she shared with the boy.
This special friendship has been featured worldwide
The story of the touching friendship went viral, and Internet users started to send Mary gifts and cards. Benjamin's mom wanted to thank her neighbor, who had become a true friend to her boy during his time of self-isolation, and she set out to collect 100 cards for Mary.
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Eventually Olson managed to collect as many as 300 postcards from 21 states! Likewise, Benjamin did not stand by. Checking O'Neill's mailbox every day and collecting her postcards became a fun game for him.
Olson was surprised by this attention to their friendship, "I just thought it was two cute people hanging out together. To know that it's had such a big impact on her is special." Now the boy calls the old lady Mimi and wants to spend all the time with her.
You can watch the full video here:
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