I recently saw an elderly lady standing on her own, outside of a shop. I asked her if she was okay and we got talking. She said she hated this time of year and when I asked why she shared that she had lost her husband this time last year. She became very emotional, saying that he was her world and she missed him so much. I listened with empathy while she talked and for some reason, I felt it was appropriate to hug her. Immediately, she appeared to perk up and smile. She thanked me for stopping and listening and we then parted ways.
I realised afterwards that I may have been the only person she had spoken to that day, or even that week. The short exchange gave me more confidence to start conversations with older people I meet in the future. It made me realise that something small really can make a difference.