It started with two houses that were separated by a single fence; and a lonely worldwide pandemic.
In one house lived little two-year-old Benjamin.
In the other house lived Mary O’Neill, a woman who was getting closer and closer to celebrating her 100th birthday.
When the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down, many of us found ourselves sitting at home, locked away from the world as we knew it.
For some, it was lonely but workable. However, for others, it was simply isolating.
COVID-19 Changed the World
Little Benjamin was too little to do much when the world shut down in the spring of 2020.
At an age when kids his age spend time together in playgroups or playing in the parks, Benjamin found his world to be a bit different from that of the average toddler; while sheltering at home with his family during the worldwide pandemic.
Next door, Mary O’Neill was passing the days in her home watching TV and playing a hand-held electronic version of Yahtzee.
For more than a year, these two neighbors were unable to step out as they normally would. Finding themselves to be prisoners of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A Friendship Forms Over the Fence
All of this changed when the two lonely neighbors formed a lasting friendship over the fence.
Now, the unlikely duo is celebrating one of Mary O’Neill’s biggest milestones together. Her 100th Birthday.
Many of O’Neill’s family and friends joined her recently to celebrate her birthday. Which is officially later this year. Just one week before Christmas.
Of course, Benjamin was at the top of Mary’s guest list.
“It is his buddy and he was very excited to go to her party,” said Benjamin’s mother, Sarah on during an interview with TODAY. Sarah added that the bond between her son and O’Neill gave the party an extra special component.
“A lot of her family has been hearing about Benjamin so they were excited to meet him,” the mother explained.
Mary even shared some of her gifts with her young buddy.
“Mary’s niece gave her a bag of treats for Benjamin to share during playtime,” smiled Sarah. “Now pretty much every day, we see Mary and she asks, ‘Is it snack time? Can I bring him a snack?'”
100 Cards For a 100th Birthday
To further celebrate Mary’s big milestone, Sarah and Benjamin have decided to throw a card shower for the centenarian.
Recently, Benjamin’s mother posted on social media about Mary O’Neill’s upcoming big day, requesting friends and family mail her neighbor birthday cards to celebrate the milestone.
“I set a goal of getting 100 birthday cards for Mary’s 100th birthday,” said Sarah. However, the message brought on a much bigger response than she had planned. Mary received more than 300 cards from over twenty states.
Benjamin even joined Mary to pick up the cards from the PO Box as they arrived.
“We would just go to the post office and he would just love to open it up and see all the cards that we got,” his mother said.