An Oklahoma grandmother's heartbreaking request for company on Christmas went viral, sparking an ultimately successful search for the lonely woman.
The saga began last Wednesday when Carson Carlock, of Tulsa, Okla., came across an ad titled, "Anybody need a grandma for Christmas?" while scrolling through Craigslist looking for free items.
"I saw that post, and I was like, 'You know, that’s really sad,'" Carlock told KJRH.
In her short ad, the woman promises that in exchange for companions on Dec. 25, she will provide an array of services that might typically be offered by one's own grandmother.
"I have nobody and would really like to be part of a family," the tragic message began.
"I cook, and I can cook dinner. I'll even bring food & gifts for the kids!" it continued. "I have nobody and it really hurts. Let me be part of your family."
Carlock said he was deeply affected by the message, which reminded him of his own mother, who fell ill and died in 2018.
However, apparently not everyone who saw the ad looked upon the woman with as much sympathy — she later updated her post, writing that she had received a barrage of "messed up" messages accusing her of trying to take advantage of others.
"I'm not asking for anything," she said. "I'm (willing) to give and act like I'm trying to take!"
"Hope it makes you feel good!" she added. "Thanks for that extra shot of pain! Holidays are hard enough!"
She ended by saying she would "figure out" where to spend Christmas by herself before deleting the post entirely.
Devastated by the update, Carlock took to Facebook to ask the public to help him find the woman. His post quickly went viral, racking up more than 6,700 shares, plus dozens of kind offers to host the woman for Christmas or send her gifts and cards.
Luckily, after the post was covered by multiple local media outlets, the grandmother, who has been identified only as Carrie to protect her identity and her family, came forward and contacted Carlock.
Apparently, a rift between Carrie, who says she's in her 50s, and her daughter led to the grandma not being able to see her young granddaughter during the holidays.
"I just received an email from Grandma Carrie and she wishes to remain private because of personal family things and does not want to risk losing her grand daughter (sic) forever," he shared. "Let’s please respect her wish to remain unknown."
On Monday, after days of email correspondence, Carlock said he finally got to meet the woman at the center of the viral saga.
"Carrie is the most loving and sweet person, I wish I could share with you more about her but she has asked to keep it private," he wrote on Facebook. "She has absolutely loved all the offers and things you guys have said but she wants you to know she will not accept anything from anyone, just LOVE!"
Best of all? Carlock says he and Carrie are now planning to spend Christmas Day together, a move many internet users said would have made his late mother proud.
Carlock says he ultimately hopes that their story will encourage anyone in a similar position to Carrie to find the courage to ask for help.
"I just want you to know that you aren't alone," he told KJRH. "If you find yourself wanting to be a part of a family on Christmas, just reach out."
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