Updated on Jan 1, 2019. Posted on Dec 31, 2018

    This Story About Someone Befriending A Woman Who Died At 101 Is What We Need Right Now

    "Don’t really know why I want to share all this except that she was an incredible incredible woman. And if I hadn’t got talking to a stranger at the bus stop I would never have known her."

    On Sunday, journalist Felicity Hannah told a story on Twitter about meeting an elderly woman that has struck a nerve on social media and inspired people to be more friendly in 2019, especially to older people.

    My friend Terri died in Edinburgh in August, aged 101 and a half.

    We met in the early 2000s when I was a student in the city. I was reading books at a bus stop, she came over to ask about them, I offered to visit her and read to her. We were then friends for a good 15 years.

    Hannah told the remarkable story of Terri's life, which spanned two world wars.

    Terri was a time traveller. Born during WW1 she served in WW2. She left home before she was 16 and got a job in a hotel by walking up and asking. They said ‘come back in the morning’ she said ‘I might be dead by the morning’ so they let her sleep that night with the other maids

    ...the loves of her life...

    He died almost 40 years ago, asking his former apprentice to help Terri out. That former apprentice and his family were Terri’s family for the rest of her life, caring for her as if she was their own elderly relative. People are wonderful.

    ...and her progressive and inclusive social views.

    She hated racism (although she didn’t always get modern language requirements right) and when she moved into a home I almost always found her laughing with foreign carers when I visited. Some would call by to see her on their days off or at the end of their shifts

    And there was the time she commented on a waiter's "lovely tight bum", aged 98.

    I used to take Terri to our favourite Italian restaurant (when I was pregnant she would order enormous plates of spinach and make me eat them). She once told me the waiter had ‘a lovely tight bum’ while he was still standing near our table. She must have been about 98.

    Hannah said, in the final tweet of her thread: "Don’t really know why I want to share all this except that she was an incredible incredible woman. And if I hadn’t got talking to a stranger at the bus stop I would never have known her. So I’m going to try and talk to strangers more and to value the elderly more too."

    There was no funeral because Terri's body was donated to Edinburgh University's medical school, as she had stipulated. "I hope the students there know she was loved," Hannah said.

    Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Hannah said: "I never expected this kind of reaction to my tweets about my friend but somehow it feels so very Terri. She made such a big impact on the people she met and now she’s doing the same online.

    "I think she would have enjoyed people reading about her remarkable life. I’m really really touched that other people wanted to hear about her, it’s made me quite emotional. I am certainly richer for knowing Terri."

    To read the full Twitter thread, start here.

    Patrick Smith is a senior reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

    Contact Patrick Smith at patrick.smith@buzzfeed.com.

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