Ellie Walker loves to be surrounded by friends and family during the Holidays. And she can’t bear to see anyone left out of the festivities.
Walker works in the Sainsbury’s grocery store in Leeds, UK, as a customer service assistant. She is always friendly to customers, taking an interest in them and finding out how their day is going—it is the best part of her job, she wrote on the store’s blog.
She especially enjoys chatting to one particular customer: 86-year-old Edwin Holmes. Holmes pops in for a few items almost every day. He is well known and liked by the staff—everyone values his loyalty.
“He is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite customer. He is the cutest man and so chatty,” Walker told The Sun.
Christmas was approaching, and when chatting with Holmes about his plans for the Holiday season, Walker discovered the sad news that he would be spending it alone—with a frozen ready meal. After 45 years of marriage he became widowed 10 years ago, and his daughter and two grandchildren live too far away in Australia.
Holmes worked all his life as a painter and decorator until the age of 76 and the house and garden kept him busy in his retirement. But seven years ago he had to give it all up and move into sheltered housing.
Now life has become very quiet.
“The thought of him being on his own at such a special time breaks my heart,” Walker said according to Sainsbury’s blog.
She couldn’t let it happen.
This kind-hearted 22-year-old wanted to give this special customer a wonderful Christmas treat—one to remember.
Walker invited Holmes to join her for Christmas dinner at Sainsbury’s café.
“I thought if it was my granddad and he was alone I would want someone to talk to him,” she told The Sun.
The widower was thrilled with the invitation and dressed up for the occasion.
Walker was moved to tears by how much it meant to him.
“He said it was his first ‘date’ in 55 years and he was as nervous as a schoolboy,” Walker told The Sun.
In true gentlemanly fashion, he gave her a bunch of flowers.
“I wasn’t going to go empty handed,” Holmes told The Sun.
And what a heart-warming night it was for both of them!
“Such a lovely night with a lovely man,” Walker wrote on Sainsbury’s intranet.
“The dinner made me very happy as it was unexpected and I had very pleasant company,” Holmes told Sainsbury’s.
They still meet regularly for coffee.
Walker’s kind gesture did not go unnoticed. She received many positive comments on her Facebook profile after she shared some of the media reports about her dinner date.
Walker’s friend Laura praised Walker for being “… such an inspiration to all!!”
This sentiment was echoed by another commenter, who wrote: “You are [a] shining light and inspiration to others. Bless you for this gift you gave this man, one he will never forget. There will always be beauty in your heart.”