An Alabama man's simple act of kindness has gone viral on social media.
Alabama man Jamairo Howard was eating out with his friends when he noticed an elderly woman sitting alone at a table nearby.
The 23-year-old said he thought that "he'd hate to have to eat alone” and walked over to her to ask if he could sit with her, which the woman accepted.
Over her meal, she revealed she had lost her husband and that the next day was in fact her 60th wedding anniversary.
Mr Howard invited her to join him and his friends, and they finished eating together.
"The point in this is always be kind and be nice to people. You never know what they are going through," Mr Howard wrote on Facebook, after the encounter.
"This woman changed my outlook on life and how I look at other people. Everyone has a story so do not judge."
A photo of the shared meal was posted to Facebook and soon got shared widely as people praised the random act of kindness.
Some people wrote: "Bless you", while others said Mr Howard as "so very kind, so very sweet" and "an angel".
Loneliness and Kindness
Loneliness particularly affects the young and the old, according to Dr Michelle Lim, the scientific chair of the Coalition to End Loneliness.
The loss of a spouse and friends, or the loss of health makes the elderly particularly vulnerable, she told SBS News.
"People have huge capacity to be kind, and to lend a hand to people who are much more vulnerable and I think that there are enough people in our communities doing that; these are things that should not be making news, we should [just] be doing it," Dr Lim said.
Being kind, she said, is an easy and safe way to approach other people, "kindness is one of those things where you are very unlikely to get a negative reaction, it's an effective tool and can make people feel safe and being able to connect with some structure around it".
Dr Lim stressed it's important not to assume that anybody who is alone, be it on a park bench, a bus stop or at a cafe, is lonely.
"A really nice starter is to ask if someone wants some company and allow the older person to direct things", she explained, "some people do want to be left alone but others do feel lonely and would enjoy company".
There are many local community groups who offer support to the elderly who crave company.