Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on October 12th 2021
How Mary O'Neill, nearly 100, and 2-year-old Benjamin Olson, became best friends.

Mary O'Neill and Benjamin Olson
Mary O'Neill and Benjamin Olson photo: washingtonpost.com

Their Minneapolis homes are next door to each other.

Each day they get together to blow bubbles, or to play "cane ball," in which they play catch, with Mary knocking the ball to him with her cane.

They talk and laugh as Benjamin delivers dirt to her from a toy truck, she gave him. How did this unlikely friendship begin?

(Story continues from "Read More")

It began during the pandemic shutdown. Mary has lived alone since her husband passed away 37-years-ago.

Benjamin lives with his parents and his younger brother Noah.

"We started spending a lot more time together during the quarantine," Benjamin's mother Sarah Olson, 36, told The Washington Post.

And soon Mary's and Benjamin's beautiful friendship developed.

Mary, retired from work for 36-years, had also been a devoted wife and mother, with two-children, and then four-grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

But her family does not live nearby.

When she's not with Benjamin, she primarily watches TV and plays electronic Yahtzee.

But this little 2-year-old and his family get Mary outdoors into the fresh air and give her a special bond of human interaction and laughter.

Although Benjamin started day care three-days-a-week, "We really make a point of making sure we are with Mary each day," Sarah said.

"I miss him," said Mary. "But I see him in the evening when he comes home."

Mary gave Benjamin her son's toy truck collection, which he had loved as a child. Her son passed away at age-53, and his treasured collection was stored in her home.

Now it has a new life with Benjamin.

Being with Benjamin "makes me feel fulfilled and satisfied. And just really happy," said Mary.

Editor's Note: To learn more https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2021/07/28/best-friend-neighbor-100-2/.

In the next KazanToday: A very special visitor for Arnold the Goose.

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