A young man and older woman became friends over a meal at McDonald’s, and the internet is lovin’ it.
Eric Haralson was sitting down to a late breakfast on Thursday in Noblesville, Ind., when he met a woman who would completely change the direction of his day.
“I was eating breakfast by myself, just catching up on the NBA games that I missed the night before and Jan Jessup, being the center of attention that I assume she has been all her life, sat at the table across from mine,” Haralson tells Yahoo Lifestyle.
Originally, Jessup sat down with a group of teenagers because she was intrigued by one of their man buns. “She asked him about it and who helped him with that style because she has never seen it before and he responded with his mom, and then they exchanged a few words and she was off to get napkins,” he explains.
When she came back, the kids were gone and Jessup was confused and alone. “She thought that she had scared them off,” Haralson says. “She said that she just wanted conversation, because who really likes eating by themselves with no one to talk to?” That’s when Jessup turned to the 28-year-old: “Before she sat down, she asked me if I like to eat alone, I responded with, ‘No ma’am, I do not.’” So, she asked Haralson if she could join him. And “without hesitation,” Haralson said, “please do.”
That was the start of what the internet is cheering as a beautiful friendship. “As I pushed the chair out for her, I reached out my hand and introduced myself and she extended hers and did the same,” he says.
They dined together for about 45 minutes, talking about everything from how Jessup wanted her car painted to love to spiritual topics to “what seemed like her favorite topic, love thy neighbor.”
Haralson’s mom told him to never ask a woman’s age, so he didn’t, but he guesses that she’s between 60 and 70 years old.
“She never mentioned if she lives with someone, just mentioned someone by the name of John Boy,” Haralson recalls. “She lives very close to the McDonald’s, and she used to have an obsession with Caramel Frappés until it made her sick one day. So now when she comes in, she usually gets a grilled chicken salad, which she had that morning.”
Luckily, a fellow diner witnessed the whole thing and caught their interaction on camera. She shared photos of the pair who “couldn’t be more different” bonding over salads and fries on Facebook. Her post has almost 2,000 reactions and hundreds of shares. “So kind and caring. I love it, this is the way America should be all the time,” someone commented. “It’s how more people should be,” someone else agreed. “Ah my heart this is adorable,” wrote a third. “This makes my heart warm.”
Once Haralson was identified, people couldn’t stop praising him. “Eric Haralson, thank you for being a good human! You rock! It’s really cool when two strangers connect like this.” someone gushed. “Kudos to Eric for opening his heart to his woman. You made her day
Haralson feels that the people who know him would have expected his friendly behavior that day. “I honestly don’t think my peers would have been surprised because they know the type of person I am. I’ve always been this way,” he says.
“I said yes for two reasons. First reason is that it is the type of person I am, I wouldn’t have denied anyone,” he notes. “And second is, who really wants to eat by themselves?”
After the meal, Haralson walked Jessup to her car and they talked for another 20 minutes. And they plan to talk more. “We did exchange numbers and have not yet made contact, but hopefully we can make this a weekly or every other week ‘Happy Meal.’” Of his new friend, he says, “Jan Jessup, she is a sweetheart and I can’t wait to tell her all about this!”
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