I don’t know about you, but as the years go by and I get older, I can’t shake the feeling that some good things about society seem to have been lost in the sands of time.

Respect is something that people often talk about. Respect for our parents, teachers, police officers, nurses, and farmers, among other people.

I think what I miss most from my childhood, though, is a sense of love and community spirit. To try to explain it better, I might say that it’s the feeling that people who live in the same area, whether it’s a city, a small town, or a village, are almost like one big family.

To put it another way, when I was young, I knew everyone’s name on my street. I could walk down the street and almost every house would let me in. I always said hello to the milkman and the mailman when they came by, and I knew that all of the adults who lived close to my parents’ house would keep an eye out for me.

Now, close-knit communities do still exist, but they’re a dying breed, which is sad to say.

Because of that, stories like this one really help to warm my heart.

Ben Bird has been a trash collector in the Midlands of the UK for a long time. Because of the nature of his job, he has to deal with people. Since he takes care of the same houses, he sees a lot of the same people while making his rounds.

Still, there was always one person he liked to spend extra time with.

Ben said that talking with Mercy Ballard, a retired woman, was the best part of his week.

Reports say that Ben took Mercy’s trash out every Thursday, and that eventually led to the two of them talking. It turned out to be the start of a strange friendship.

“Where is my best friend?” Ben would ask, and Mercy would let him in so they could talk.

He also said, “I clean out the trash can, come back up, and then we have 10 minutes to talk, don’t we?”

During one of these “talks,” Mercy mentioned that she was in her 90s. Ben told her right away that he was excited to sing “Happy Birthday” to her when she turned 100.

So, the years went by, and the two kept talking every week. Mercy stayed healthy, and she told someone one day that her 100th birthday was coming up.

Ben was a man of his word, so he remembered the promise he made to Mercy a long time ago. Not only that, but he went even further and planned a little surprise for her.

On Mercy’s 100th birthday, Ben went to a nearby bakery and picked out a cake to give her. He even put candles on it to celebrate Mercy’s big step forward.

When Mercy woke up on her birthday, Ben and a few of his coworkers were at her door with a cake. When she went outside to say hello, they started singing “Happy Birthday” to her.

Mercy was so moved, she started to cry…

One of Ben’s fellow garbage men was lucky enough to catch the tear-jerking act on film. It shouldn’t have been a surprise that the clip was a huge hit online. It has been watched over four million times on YouTube.

Ben’s act of kindness got so much attention that news crews went to Mercy’s house to talk to the two of them on her sofa. The person who just turned 100 got a birthday card from Queen Elizabeth.