Heartbreaking photo reminds us to call our grandparents

Story highlights

  • Kelsey Harmon tweeted a picture of her grandpa sadly eating one of the 12 burgers he prepared for his six grandchildren
  • Many were upset with the five grandchildren who didn't attend Papaw's dinner.

(CNN)The Internet adopted a grandpa this week after he was stood up by his grandchildren.

Kelsey Harmon, a college softball player, went to have dinner with her Papaw on Thursday. Five of her cousins were invited, but she was the only one who showed up. Harmon tweeted a picture of her grandpa sadly eating one of the 12 burgers he prepared for his six grandchildren. The tweet had been retweeted almost 140,000 times as of Friday afternoon.​
    People on the Internet were touched by the photo and most found it to be heartbreaking. Many were upset with the five grandchildren who didn't attend Papaw's dinner. The overwhelming response to the photo proved to be a reminder to make family a priority.
    Harmon began receiving hundreds of messages from people saying her tweet encouraged them to visit their own grandparents.
    "I've also seen many sad posts, people saying that they don't get the chance to see their grandparents, and my heart aches for them," she wrote on Twitter.
    Grandparents might need the company of their grandchildren more than they think. Loneliness is a real problem for elderly people. Ten percent of elderly people are chronically lonely, according to a 2015 study by the Campaign to End Loneliness. The study also found that having friends and family nearby is more important to older people than younger generations.
    While being close to family isn't necessarily a priority for all young people, elderly people need the support and connection for their health. Chronic loneliness has been linked to increased risk of chronic disease and mortality, according to a 2015 study by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    "It meant a lot to me to see all the messages from people saying that my post made them go call or see their grandparents," Harmon told CNN. "If I can make just one person do that, then it was all worth it for me."