Farris Leonard is from Burgar, North Carolina, and it was on Facebook where he wrote about a heartwarming encounter he had with a 93-year-old gentleman. It was on July 30, 2017 when he visited a Lanes Ferry Dock & Grill where he ordered a burger and chanced upon the older man. In the Facebook post, which soon went viral, he wrote: ‘today I went to Lane’s Ferry Grill to eat lunch. Great staff and food. I needed a real bacon cheeseburger. The place was packed.’
He went on to say that as he was waiting alone for his order an older man pointed at an empty seat next to him, non verbally asking if he could sit down. Farris wrote: ‘I replied sure. He was filling out his order sheet and one of the staff came to say to me that the gentleman communicated by passing notes because he couldn’t hear or speak well. They asked if he could sit there. I responded we had already worked that out.’
The former firefighter continued his Facebook post by explaining how the two men passed notes back and forth and eventually filled the entirety of the old man’s paper. Farris found out that the man was actually 93 years old and had ‘seen’ things. He wrote: ‘as we sat and passed notes, we filled up both sides of his paper, I only wondered the things he had seen. Well he met JFK, in the ’40s he went to Arizona and it was 120 degrees. Yes, we wrote about the weather. What a great lunch!’
As their orders arrived and Farris was about to leave, he wrote back to the man, ‘“Sir I want to thank you for sharing lunch with me. I must go now but I want you to know that you made my day a better day. Take care of yourself.” You should have seen his eyes and smile as he read it. He embraced his heart and gave me a handshake that was real. We hugged and took a picture.’
Farris explained how while this encounter may have been ‘insignificant’ to some people, just sitting down and showing a little bit of compassion can go a long way at times. ‘I tell this story that may seem insignificant, only to share just how significant it was. As I sat there I wondered if and hoped that I was making a better day for this 93-year-young gentleman. This story is not about what I did but about what we all can do. With a little time, a lot of compassion and not being about “me” and “I’” so much, we could help make and be in a better place. Passing notes with this gentleman was priceless.’
Farris’ Facebook post has since been liked more than 800 times and been shared more than a hundred times. Many people applauded the kind heart, empathy, compassion, and patience that he displayed towards this older gentleman. Thirumalai Thirupuvanam wrote: ‘just saw this, what a great story! So happy you got to meet him!’ Samp Hudson Jr. wrote: ‘he probably was a WWII veteran! I love meeting those guys!’
A woman by the name of Shelby Rozga commented on a Facebook group, Love What Matters, which featured Farris’ story and said: ‘I work here at Lanes Ferry Dock & Grill and the older man, Mr. Eddy, comes in every single Friday! He is the sweetest man you could ever meet and will always put a smile on your face. It is so sweet when strangers come and sit with him and they write conversations and leave as friends! There are some wonderful people in this world.’
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