Young boy's friendship with elderly neighbor will make your day

Wilma Bray on her porch in Tennessee. (Photo: Courtesy of Darrien Middleton)

A 7-year-old boy has found a friend in his 78-year-old neighbor, and the internet is melting.

Darrien Middleton witnessed a seriously sweet moment two weeks ago and had to share it on Facebook. The result — a photo of her grandmother Wilma Bray sitting on her Tennessee porch with a first-grader named Caleb — will warm your heart.


Just wanted to shed some light in this dark world we live in……..

Posted by Darrien Middleton on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

“Just wanted to shed some light in this dark world we live in,” Middleton, who lives in Jackson, Tenn., the same town as her grandmother, captioned the photo of the young boy listening intently to Bray. “This kid comes and visits my grandmother everyday… 4-5 times a day. He just told me it was to check on her, to make sure she wakes up from all her naps.” She summed up the sweet image with four heart emojis, noting, “My heart can’t take this.”

Meanwhile, the internet can’t get enough of it; the post has more than 48K reactions and has been shared over 145K times.

Middleton tells Yahoo Lifestyle that her grandmother has lived in her neighborhood for 38 years, and that “her neighbors are incredible to her.” Not only is she older and alone, her granddaughter notes, but she has been battling lung and breast cancer for the past two years and is constantly going through chemotherapy and radiation.

Bray’s young friend, Caleb. (Photo: Courtesy of Darrien Middleton)

“Me and my dad, who is her son, are the only family she has, but we both work full time and I’m in school full time,” she says, adding that neighbors have helped out in various ways. “There are two women who live on both sides of her, and they have stepped up to help me get her to appointments and check on her throughout the day.”

One young neighbor, however, is getting props this week for his knack of providing both company and conversation. “Her neighbor directly beside her has a grandson, Caleb,” she says. “My grandma has talked about him for a while.” Middleton says Caleb’s been around since he was about 2, but more so now because he recently moved in with his own grandmother. So for the past few months, Bray has had a constant companion in Caleb.

Darrien Middleton and her grandmother. (Photo: Courtesy of Darrien Middleton)

“I’ve always heard her talk about him,” Middleton says. “So that was the first time I’ve really interacted with him. So I asked him, ‘Why are you always coming over here? Why’s Grandma always talking about you?’ And he said, ‘For one thing, she feeds me,’ and he was like, ‘I want to make sure she wakes up from all of her naps.’” Cue the awwwws. “Just being that genuine and kind — he’s a wonderful kid. Most kids running around at that age aren’t visiting a 78-year-old woman.”

Bray talks about Caleb all the time, meanwhile, and Middleton says she’s “obsessed” with the firecracker who likes to dance, loves school, and can make anyone laugh. “She just talks about how good of a kid he is and how kind he is. She gives him things here and there, she treats him like he’s her grandson.”

It all started with a hearty meal. “The first time that they really became connected, she had made a couple of steaks for dinner, and this was probably two or three years ago,” she recalls. Caleb and his grandmother went over to Bray’s house, and Caleb commented on how good the food smelled, so she gave him one of the steaks. But, Middleton says, “I think more than anything, he keeps her company, so she loves that.”

That’s particularly important right now, as Bray just had breast cancer surgery and is about to embark on 30 rounds of radiation treatment. Remarkably, she still has a positive outlook — something Middleton credits to her community support. “I don’t think she would be that way if she didn’t have people around her constantly uplifting her, like her neighbors,” she says, explaining that people like Caleb remind her of the good in the world. “More than anything, I am so thankful for people who don’t have to help just going out of their way,” she says. “I am so thankful for it — and I know my grandma is, but I really am, too. It’s just been a blessing to have them.”

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