A small act of kindness can have an immense impact on someone, regardless of its grandeur. These acts are not limited by profession, age, creed, religion, race, or any other boundary. In Wyre Forest, a sanitation worker demonstrated that a simple gesture could leave a profound experience, even for a centenarian.
One day, Ben Bird, the sanitation worker, approached Dorothy Ballard’s house. Ballard, an elderly woman known as Mercy, had frequent interactions with Bird in the past. However, this time, Bird had something more memorable in mind. Carefully, he walked up to her door, holding a small cake adorned with three candles.
Shielding the candles from the wind, Bird watched as tears welled up in Ballard’s eyes. The sanitation workers serenaded the old woman with a rendition of “Happy Birthday” and encouraged her to make a wish. With a lifetime filled with experiences, memories, and relationships, Ballard found it difficult to come up with a wish. Bird playfully suggested that she should wish to live until the age of 105. Filled with gratitude, Ballard blew out her candles.
Ballard, born in 1919, bridged a tremendous generation gap, forming a friendship with Bird that surpassed their differences. Bird shared that he had been working as a sanitation worker for 11 years, spending 8 of those years collecting Ballard’s rubbish. Despite his demanding ten-hour shifts, he always made sure to dedicate 10 minutes to spend with the old lady. “I talk to her every Thursday from 8:00 am to 8:10 am, and every time I walk up her garden path, she will be there waiting for me,” Ben shared, as quoted by Birmingham Mail.
Their conversations covered various topics, with Ballard offering valuable insights into the changes she had witnessed over a century. From the era of rotary phones when she was born to the complexities of modern smartphones, Ballard expressed her astonishment at this generation’s technology. Bird, in return, shared stories about his family, leaving Ballard elated when she discovered that Bird’s daughter shared her mother’s name.
Ballard’s family held Bird in high regard, speaking highly of him to the local news. Bird’s colleagues also recognized the significance of these interactions. “We have deadlines to meet on our rounds, but my colleagues continue without me, allowing me to catch up. I couldn’t pass Dorothy’s house without stopping to speak to her,” Ben acknowledged.
Their heartwarming interaction garnered millions of views and gained attention on social media. When offered money for their story, Bird politely declined and suggested that the funds be redirected to the Midlands Air Ambulance instead.