Is there anything better than being in love? On one Valentine’s Day, a woman and her husband got reminded about just how lucky they were to be together. Chasidy Gwaltney and her husband took a trip to their local restaurant – and she saw something that changed her perception of love and life forever. After spotting an old man crying in the restaurant, Chasidy grabbed her camera to snap a photo of the person that was sitting across from him.
Love is in the air
Every year, loved-up couples look forward to a day in February where it’s totally acceptable to shower their significant others with time, attention, and a whole lotta love.
Chasidy Gwaltney planned to do exactly that with her husband on Valentine’s Day in 2018, but was stopped in her tracks when she noticed a crying old man sitting near to her in the restaurant. As Chasidy looked closer at the man and his table, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She immediately grabbed her camera and took a picture that would soon go viral.
The woman in question
However, to understand more about this story – we have to start at the very beginning and learn a little bit about the woman in question. So, say hello to Chasidy Gwaltney!
As a resident of Corpus Christi in Texas, United States, Chasidy is one of the 305,215 people currently living in the southern city, according to SuburbanStats.org. However, Chasidy didn’t always live in Texas. Before moving to the Lone Star State, Chasidy had studied at Craven Community College in North Carolina. Yet, if she hadn’t have moved, she would never have seen the person who would teach her a lesson she would never forget.
A normal life
According to her social media pages, Chasidy Gwaltney lived a normal life before she took a trip to her local restaurant on Valentine’s Day.
She lived with her husband and their Pit Bulls in their Texan city and loved to surround themselves with nature and animals. The couple would regularly take trips to exotic locations and handle giant tarantulas every now and again – and she loved to update her friends and followers with photographs that followed these adventures. However, her Facebook profile took a different turn in February 2018, when Chasidy shared a photo that would soon reach more than just her 800 friends.
Celebrating the big day
Like most couples, Chasidy and her husband loved to celebrate Valentine’s Day – but they were more simple with their celebrations.
While they knew that they wanted to show their love and affection for each other, they knew that neither of them would want expensive gifts or extravagant gestures. All they wanted was to spend time with each other and celebrate alongside others who are madly in love with their significant others. So, they decided on something low-key that wouldn’t involve much time and effort, just their love for each other.
Going for lunch
In the end, Chasidy and her husband decided to smarten themselves up a bit, before getting in their car and driving to the local restaurant.
Instead of going for a candlelit dinner in one of the most expensive restaurants in Corpus Christi, the couple decided to choose what they knew and loved and went to their favorite restaurant that served all of the food that they enjoyed for a celebratory lunchtime meal. They filled their stomachs and laughed over silly stories, without taking into account the other people in the restaurant.
Enjoying their time together
For Chasidy, Valentine’s Day was not about extravagant gifts or spending hundreds of dollars on activities or a dinner that would serve portions as small as a teaspoon.
In her opinion, Valentine’s Day is not about the money or the time you spend choosing the perfect way to say “I love you” with other objects. In her eyes, Valentine’s Day is about the spending time saying “I love you” without all of the gimmicks and tricks. Because of this, she was just happy to spend time with her husband and not have to cook her own dinner!
All of the happy couples
As Chasidy and her husband continued their romantic Valentine’s Day, Chasidy started to take note of everything around her.
She took into account the decoration that adorned the walls, the food that other people were eating, and all of the other happy couples that were sitting around the tables. It was easy to spot those who were on romantic dates, as these couples would be holding hands, smiling intently at each other, or boasting a red rose sitting next to them. Seeing all of the happy couples made Chasidy smile in turn, but then she saw something that wiped the smile right off her face.
Catching her eye
After spotting all of the loved up people around her, Chasidy noticed that there was one person in the restaurant who didn’t quite fit in.
While all of the happy couples were sitting as a pair on their tables with their food and drink in front of them, instead Chasidy was caught by who was sat opposite him – in that, he was sat completely alone! Of course, Chasidy knew that people would often take themselves out for dinner alone and enjoy a good meal without any company, but this man was particularly eye-catching. After all, who would go for a single meal on Valentine’s Day?
A meal for two
As Chasidy continued to wonder why the old man was sitting alone, she took in a detail she hadn’t noticed before – the table was actually set out for a meal for two.
With two Valentine’s Day cards on the table next to him, two glasses of wine on the table and two plates in front of the chairs, Chasidy came to the conclusion that he must be waiting for his sweetheart to arrive. The table was set, he was ready to embrace her, and he had a glass of vino waiting for her to take a seat. Once again, Chasidy smiled to herself, before she noted another significant detail about the man…
A significant detail
Although it looked as if the old man was simply waiting for his significant other to arrive for their Valentine’s Day date, Chasidy soon noticed another significant detail that knocked her assumption out of the park.
As she looked ever closer at the old man sitting near to her, Chasidy noticed that he was not casually waiting for someone else to arrive. Instead, he was trying to hide the fact that he was crying as he put his head into his hands and sobbed into his handkerchief as he sat alone at the table.
A tear in her eye
Chasidy couldn’t bear to see the old man crying alone at his table, and began to wonder why he was so upset.
She was trying to think what could have made the old man so upset that he would start crying in the middle of a restaurant. She toyed with the idea that he really wasn’t enjoying the food and wanted to go home, she wondered whether he had been stood up on his Valentine’s date, and she even pondered whether he simply had something in his eye. However, the real answer was much more upsetting.
Taking a photograph
Before too long, Chasidy had approached the man to ask him whether he was okay and whether he needed any help or assistance of any kind – but she had no idea that his answer would turn her life upside down.
As soon as she heard his reasoning for sitting alone on Valentine’s Day and crying into his handkerchief, Chasidy returned to her own table and took out her camera. She knew that she had to document this moment and teach others a lesson of this man’s sad tale. So, she took a photograph with the plan to upload the photograph to her social media pages.
A Valentine’s date
With the real reasoning behind his distress in her mind, Chasidy sat back at her table and took in his table setting once more.
While many could believe that the old man was simply waiting on a date or had been stood up – it seemed as though his real Valentine’s date had been there all along. In fact, she was sitting in front of the glass of wine and next to the plate, and her date was her widow. Indeed, sat opposite the old man was an ornate and intricate urn that carried that ashes of his wife, who had passed away.
A love so strong
According to the old man, it had always been a tradition for him and his wife to celebrate Valentine’s Day together, and he wasn’t going to stop that tradition – even if she was no longer with him.
Because his love was still so strong for his wife, he wanted to treat her as if she was still there to have and to hold, and wanted to make every special occasion even more meaningful. To keep their love alive, the man would often take his wife out for celebratory dinners, where he would order her favorite glass of wine and place her ashes on the table as if she really were there in front of him.
Too much to handle
Although he vowed to himself that he would celebrate Valentine’s Day with his wife every year, it didn’t make the process any easier.
After ordering two glasses of wine and placing two Valentine’s cards on the table, the old man had to reside to the fact that he would only be able to order for one. This was often too much to handle for the lonely old man, and just like on Valentine’s Day 2018, he became so overwhelmed with emotion that he broke down crying, and wept for his wife who had sadly passed away and left a hole in his heart.
Posting it online
Chasidy was utterly heartbroken to hear the old man’s story and to see his Valentine’s date play out in front of her – but she knew that the photograph she had taken could be used to signify a point.
She did not take the photograph to embarrass the man or to post his personal life online, but she used it to show the world what an incredible man he was. Despite the tough circumstances he had been dealt in life, he still wanted to treat his wife and prove to himself, his deceased wife, and the world that he was not going to let his widowed status define how he would treat his wife on their special day.
A personal message
As Chasidy posted the photograph on her Facebook page, she also used the platform to write her own message to her friends and followers.
In this caption, she noted how easy it is to take our significant others for granted throughout our relationships. It’s often easy to get so caught up in our everyday life that we forget to thank our loved ones for what they do for us and how they impact our lives in a positive way. She then ended her caption with a poignant message that we should all love with all of our hearts every single day, because we never know when that opportunity will be taken away from us.
A viral sensation
Within days of Chastity uploading her photograph to Facebook, it had become a viral sensation. Social media users were overcome with emotion to see the old man in the restaurant and were moved by Chasidy’s inspirational message.
In fact, at the time of writing, the post has been shared more than 500,000 times and has been liked by nearly 700,000 people. The story really hit home for a lot of people, and just like Chasidy, these people wanted to share the story to inspire others to appreciate their loved ones – and not just on Valentine’s Day.
An overwhelming response
However, this wasn’t the only response the video received. Thanks to the emotional photograph and Chasidy’s message, people from all around the world were inspired to use her post as a platform to show their loved ones that they care.
With more than 130,000 comments from people across the globe, people have continued to update her post with tags to their loved ones, stating their own love and devotion to each other. Many followers have also been sharing their own stories of love and loss throughout their lives. The post has become a status to be proud of.
Love is all around
The overwhelming response to Chasidy’s post and the old man’s story has really taken everyone’s breath away.
For some, it has made people even more aware of the love they have for those who are near and dear to them, and for others, it has really made them change their ways and appreciate what their significant other does for them every single day. In fact, the old man’s story is a lesson to us all to love those around us with all of our heart, no matter the circumstances or our situation. Love is love, after all.
Perhaps one of the reasons that Chasidy felt such a strong wave of emotion for this man – besides the obvious reasons – is because her mother, also lost her significant other.
Chasidy’s beloved mother is a widow and maybe because of this, Chasidy felt an extra pang toward the elderly man. She knows what it’s like to watch someone you care about lose someone, so she probably was flooded with emotion even though this man was a stranger.
Facebook for awareness
Chasidy has become known to use Facebook to post about matters dear to her heart. She shares posts that reach out to her, to raise awareness, and to post pictures of her life experiences.
That is probably why when she saw this man sitting there, she did not think twice about using the social network to spread his story. She must have known that what this man was going through would impact others, so she knew it needed to be shared.
One thing that Chasidy probably did not expect, however, was how much people responded to her post. While there’s no guessing what might go viral these days, it seems that any story can become a sensation.
The woman probably thought that people would just like the post and move on, but the result was quite the opposite. The powers of the internet are truly incredible – someone can become a celebrity over night, or in this case, an older gentleman can warm/break the world’s heart.
One thing that has come to be expected with viral posts, however, is the haters. It seems like no matter what the story is about, there will always be at least one person who doesn’t agree with it or has something less than pleasant to say.
One person, for instance, thought it was a bit strange that Chasidy felt the need to take a picture of a total stranger crying and then post it on the internet.
While we’re sure there were other people who did not agree with Chasidy’s actions, the outpour of positive response completely outnumbered them.
People shared this post so many times, saying that they will start to recognize their loved ones more and do what they can to show they appreciate them. People also posted about how they hope to find someone who loves them so much that even after they’re gone, they still take them out to lunch.
Still being shared
Probably the most incredible thing about the post – as if there weren’t already enough – is that it is still being shared to this day. Nine months after Valentine’s Day 2018, people are still thinking about this man and his beloved wife.
It will probably be a topic that comes up every year on February 14th to remind people that love is in the air. We know, however, that Chasidy’s point was to remind everyone to show their significant others love all year round.
Sharing other posts
Another time that Chasidy used FB to post something near to her heart was when she shared a gofundme page to raise money for a girl’s funeral who had recently passed away in the same city as where Chasidy lives.
Unfortunately this post did not get as much of a reaction as the other one, but the family was able to raise a few hundred dollars for their loved one. It just shows another time that Chasidy used social media to share something she cared about.
True love never ends
The gentleman in the picture truly shows us the importance of not taking a single day for granted. He no longer has his loved one with him, but many people still do.
Not only is he showing us that there’s hope for true love, but he proves that it never dies; it obviously existed between him and his wife and it still continues to grow even after she passed. Real love does exist and this man proves it. We’re sure his wife would love this tribute.
Losing a loved one
While every day is important, special occasions become extra important between significant others and loved ones.
While most people enjoy spending these types of moments with the ones we care about most, holidays such as Valentine’s Day can be extremely difficult for those who have lost someone they love. Every day is hard when you no longer have someone to hold tight, but the photo Chasidy shared proves that special occasions can be extra hard.
Another important lesson that this photo can teach us is how we should take a moment to notice the other people around us.
Sometimes people get so caught up in their own lives, they don’t even realize the others who are also going through this crazy thing called life. You never know what someone else is going through or how much their story can impact you. Perhaps if Chasidy hadn’t looked up from her plate this day, she never would have noticed the man sitting so close to her.