It’s an unfortunate fact that many elderly people spend a lot of their time alone. Even when they have family and friends to see, they still often don’t have the same social interactions as younger people, so each friendship and every little bit of human contact can be very valuable to them. And for one old lady in the Midlands, England, a weekly interaction with one man has always been very special.
Dorothy Ballard, nicknamed ‘Mercy’ to her friends, always looked forward to ten simple minutes of chat with a garbage collector named Ben Bird each week.
“I talk to her every Thursday from 8am to 8.10am and every time I walk up her garden path she will be there waiting for me.” said Ben, in an interview with ITV News.
The pair got very close over the years, and Ben promised Mercy he’d bring her a birthday cake if she lived to be 100. Well, she made it, and Ben kept his word!
A viral video shows Ben walking down the path to Mercy’s house, with a special 100th birthday cake in his hands.
Mercy opens the door and is overwhelmed with joy to see her friend keeping his promise as he starts to sing “Happy Birthday To You” alongside a couple of his garbage collector buddies.
When she finally recovers from the surprise of it all, Mercy can be seen blowing out the candles, with Ben urging her to make a special wish that she lives all the way to her 105th birthday.
Ben values his friendship with Mercy just as much as she does. He loves hearing stories about her past and speaking to someone who knew the world before all of the gadgets and conveniences we have today.
I’ve been a binman for about 11 years and love listening to her stories about her life – having been born in 1919 she can hardly believe what technology can do now and she can’t get her head round my phone.
When I was taking the selfie of us with my two colleagues she was saying ‘Where do I look?
Mercy has lived on the same street for over seven decades now, and Ben has been visiting her for several years already. Their friendship started off with a simple hello, but has grown into something very special.
Her granddaughter saw the video and shared it around, as well as sending a personal “thank you” message to Ben.
As the video went viral, a TV crew went out to Mercy’s home to film an interview with the pair.
During the interview, Mercy spoke of how “wonderful” it was to see a young man like Ben being so kind to an old lady, while Ben calls her his “best friend”.
And like any best friends, they have a few disagreements along the way! Ben says he wants Mercy to make it to 105, while Mercy jokingly responds that she’s “had enough”, having lived for a whole century already. Let’s hope she does live much longer so this wonderful friendship can continue to blossom, and maybe we’ll have another happy video to share on Mercy’s next birthday!
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