Wrong phone call sparks 20-year friendship between two strangers from Rhode Island and Florida

About 20 years ago, a woman from Delray Beach, Florida, tried to call her sister in Maryland but accidentally dialed the wrong number.

Her sister’s area code was 410, but the caller kept dialing 401, getting Mike Moffitt, 46, from Rhode Island instead.

The person on the other end of the line hung up real quick when she realized she got the wrong number, but she continued to do it “a couple of times that day, next week the same thing, maybe next month,” said Moffitt.

Gladys Hankerson in an interview with WESH 2 News
YouTube

“I was raised by my dad, you always answer your phone, you never know who it is,” he said.

The woman kept calling the wrong number and would quickly hang up until Moffitt decided to stop her to ask: “Hey, what’s your name?”

That simple question started a lifelong friendship. The pair of strangers hit it off, and they started talking.

Mike Moffitt at Fisher Towers hiking trail
Facebook

Moffitt worked in a call center then and said talking with Hankerson over the phone didn’t bother him. In fact, it was like a breath of fresh air—a welcome diversion from his usual calls.

Moffitt learned that her name was Gladys Hankerson, and as time went on, they became phone pals who talked every few months or so.

Hankerson started calling him to ask how his family was doing or what the weather in his area was like. Moffitt began to do the same.

Their conversations never got too personal and only lasted a few minutes. But every so often, they would call to check in with the other.

Moffitt said their calls brightened his days. And though they are separated by about 30 years and thousands of miles, they were able to develop an unlikely bond.

Mike Moffitt with his wife Sarah Butler Moffitt.
Facebook

When Hankerson’s husband passed away, she told her son to call “Mike from Rhode Island.” Moffitt sent flowers to express his condolences and realized that their friendship had reached the next level.

Moffitt and his family occasionally go down to Florida to escape the cold winter. One time, he realized that the place where they usually stay was about 45 minutes away from where Hankerson lives.

However, he was doubtful about visiting. With a family of five, it wasn’t easy for him to get away, and he also didn’t want to impose on a woman he had only talked to on the phone.

However, the timing finally became right this year. The Moffitts decided to spend Thanksgiving in Florida while looking at colleges for their eldest daughter. While they were driving around, he realized they were only 2.3 miles from Hankerson’s home.

Moffitt didn’t warn anyone he was coming so that Hankerson wouldn’t feel the need to get the house ready for a visitor. He just knocked on her door with a bouquet of flowers on hand, and her daughter welcomed him inside.

Mike Moffitt knocking on Gladys Hankerson's door with a bouquet of flowers in hand
YouTube

Moffitt announced, “‘Gladys, it’s Mike from Rhode Island!” The woman threw her hands up and said, “Oh, my friend Mike! I’m blessed.”

“Oh it was such a great day, that was the happiest Thanksgiving there was, that made my day,” Hankerson said of their meeting.

Hankerson gave him a tour of the house and introduced him to her family. Moffitt didn’t stay long because his friend was getting ready for Thanksgiving, and he didn’t want to be in the way.

The pair shared a hug and took a selfie, which Moffitt shared on Facebook.

“There are incredible people in this World that are a wrong number phone call away,” he captioned the post, explaining the story.

Mike Moffitt and Gladys Hankerson in the latter's home the day before Thanksgiving
Facebook

Now that they’ve met, Moffitt plans to continue to get to know Hankerson better and, hopefully, play a more significant role in her life.

As for Hankerson, she says he considers Moffitt as a family member.

“I wish more people could be like that, you know,” she said. “That would be so nice. The world would be better, too — people would be better.”

Instead of treating Hankerson’s accidental calls as an inconvenience, Moffitt saw it as an opportunity to make a new friend. That’s exactly what being kind is all about.

Learn more about the pair’s heartwarming friendship in the video below.

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