Teens Share Heartwarming Conversation With Older Man Eating Alone

With over a year of COVID and social distancing, moments of closeness and humanity with strangers have been few and far between. This viral video of an elderly man's nostalgic conversation with dining teens has served as a reminder of just how wholesome these interactions can be.

16-year-old Kyra Hecht posted the video to her TikTok account Wednesday and the video has already gained over 7 million views and 1.7 million likes.

The clip captured the heartwarming cross-generational conversation between the man, a pastor from Florida named David Scruggs, and Hecht and her friend, over the tradition of sharing milkshakes.

Straight from a classic '60s diner movie scene, the pair filmed themselves sharing a milkshake and discussing the taste when Scruggs approached them and started conversation. "Is it fun to share a milkshake?" he asked.

Scruggs began to reminisce after the teens nodded and laughed: "I remember when I was young and I liked to share a milkshake," he recalled.

"When I was in the fifth grade, I would walk a little girl home from school, we would stop by the drug store and get a milkshake...that was a long time ago," said the 75-year-old.

The teens informed him that they were now in the 11th grade, making them both 16-year-olds. "How about that. Well I'm 75," he responded.

After the teens shared jokes about him looking good for 75, conversation turned to his vintage car parked outside—a corvette. "That'll get you girls," joked Hecht.

"My wife passed away five years ago, you know, i'm eligible," he countered in response.

"Y'all have a good evening. I didn't mean to disturb you," finished Scruggs, closing up the conversation. "Have a good time. While you're young."

"Just a wholesome old man eating alone in a diner. Moments like these cannot be real," captioned Hecht on the video.

The video can also be seen in full here.


Just a wholesome old man eating alone in a diner. Moments like these cannot be real #fyp #wholesome #foryoupage

♬ original sound - Kyra Hecht

With the post receiving such a huge influx of views in a short amount of time, it's opened up conversation online on the seemingly lost tradition of simply talking to strangers.

"I would die to have little moments like these," wrote one user.

"You guys unlocked memories for him," added another.

In modern times, the decline in talking to strangers has often been pinpointed to the rise in cell phones and technology, but the benefits remain the same.

Dr. Gillian Sandstrom, a social psychologist at the University of Essex, studies the art of talking to strangers and loneliness, and has found in her research that doing so can greatly improve moods, connection and provide a sense of belonging.

Sandstrom conducted a study in 2013, in which she handed Starbucks customers gift cards in exchange for following her simple instructions while ordering. One group was instructed to be efficient while ordering with no conversation, while the other was told to spark conversation with the barista. The study found that those who created the connection, "reported being in a better mood and feeling more connected to others."

Another study by Sandstrom and her colleagues asked participants to talk to at least one new person each day for five days. By the end of the week, 82 percent of participants reported that they had learned something from at least one of the people they had talked to.

So the benefits of talking to strangers are clear, and were felt even by Hecht, who explained in a later video that she often struggles socially, hence the awkward moments throughout the video.

In response to criticism, Hecht said in a follow-up video that she "was not trying to be rude," and that Scruggs "did not make me uncomfortable at all." Instead, she cited her "bad social skills" as the reason it may have been portrayed that way in the video.

"He could have sat there and talked to me for 20 more minutes. I would have been totally happy," she said.

Newsweek has contacted Scruggs and Hecht for comment.

Older man on device in restaurant
Stock image of an older man in a restaurant. Getty Images