Neighbors — one 2 years old, the other 99 — found friendship during quarantine

Over the last year, Benjamin Olson, 2, and Mary O'Neill, 99, have gone from neighbors to the best of friends.

Benjamin, his parents, and his baby brother Noah live next door to Mary in Minneapolis. The Olsons and O'Neill mostly stayed inside their homes at the start of the pandemic, but Benjamin and Mary started to interact when they were both in their backyards, separated by a chain-link fence. They have since invented a game called "cane ball" – Benjamin kicks a ball to the fence, and Mary hits it back with her cane — and now that he can open Mary's gate on his own, Benjamin regularly comes over to blow bubbles and hand her fistfuls of dirt.

Mary is "his first best friend," Benjamin's mom, Sarah Olson, told KARE 11, and she is "so happy they have each other." She was touched when Mary brought over a basket filled with metal Tonka trunks that belonged to her late son, for Benjamin and Noah to play with. Mary is a widow whose family lives out of state, and she now has pictures of Benjamin and Noah on display in her home. "They're the closest thing to grandchildren I have around here," she said.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.

SUBSCRIBE & SAVE
https://cdn.mos.cms.futurecdn.net/flexiimages/jacafc5zvs1692883516.jpg

Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us