Photo of Indiana Man Sharing His Table With Lonely Elderly Woman Goes Viral

This photo of two strangers eating together has gone viral.
Eric Haralson spoke with the elderly woman for 45 minutes. Amanda Marquell Craft

The kindness of a complete stranger has transformed an Indiana man and an elderly woman into social media stars.

Eric Haralson was sitting down to lunch last week at a McDonald's when a woman approached him. "She said she just wanted a little conversation," Haralson told InsideEdition.com Tuesday, "because no one likes to eat alone." She asked if he'd mind if she sat down.

"No, not at all," he told her, clearing a place for her to sit.

She said her name was Jan, and that she lived in an apartment not far from where they sat. In no time, they were chatting away like old friends instead of complete strangers. 

Another woman who was walking out the door stopped to tell Haralson, "You're such a gentleman. I hope you know you're going viral," she said. Haralson, who was mid-conversation with Jan, didn't know what to make of that comment.

Unbeknownst to him, Amanda Craft, a teacher who was eating at the restaurant, had taken a photo of the two with her cellphone. Later that night, she posted it on her Facebook page, where it blew up.

"It was so heartwarming to see this man and this older lady sit together, and eat. They didn't know each other, but he was so kind," Craft told InsideEdition. "The woman had a contagious laugh, and my friends and I couldn't help but laugh along," said the teacher, who had stopped for lunch.

Haralson said his lunchmate "is a very, very spiritual person. She goes to church on Sundays ... she said you have to love everyone, even if it's someone who just got out of prison."

He recognized her as a kindred spirit. "She would talk to whomever, it doesn't matter. She can talk to anyone about anything. I'm the same way," he said.

Haralson would never ask a lady her age, but he estimates she was between 60 and 70. He got the impression she lives alone. "She didn't speak about anyone else in her life," he said. And Haralson is too much of a gentleman to ask personal questions.

Instead, they talked about her car, and a recent paint job she had gotten. When Haralson pointed out the painters had missed a spot, "she said she was going to give them a piece of her mind," he said. "She's a firecracker."

He walked her to her car after lunch, and they stood talking for another 20 minutes. They exchanged phone numbers, and Haralson said he called her to tell her about their social media fame, but her phone went straight to voicemail. He said he'll reach out again.

"She's a lovely, lovely woman."

And no one can have too many friends.

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