A Rhode Island family "adopted" their elderly neighbor as an "honorary grandpa," and they now spend every major holiday together—including Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Sharaine Caraballo, 32, and her husband, Wilson Caraballo, 42, met Paul Callahan, 82, in March last year.
The couple first met Mr. Callahan, a retired Texas Instruments manager, when Mr. Caraballo began working on their recently purchased home and they offered him a ladder to work with. From then on, it didn't take very long for the family of eight and their new neighbor to become close—and for Mr. Callahan to take on the role of de facto grandpa.
Mr. Callahan's wife passed away six months before the Caraballo family moved into the neighborhood. Ms. Caraballo, who works as a case manager for domestic violence survivors, thinks her family provided an important refuge for the elderly widower.
The Caraballos and Mr. Callahan now see each other every other day, and the loving grandpa is invited to all family cookouts. They also spend every holiday together and this Father's Day Mr. Callahan received a new outfit from the family as a present.
"He's like an honorary grandpa to us," said Ms. Caraballo, from Darlington in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. "My husband's father is in the Dominican Republic, so even his mom says ‘Here comes your dad Paul’!"
The Caraballos were really apprehensive when they moved into the new neighborhood but the elderly man's warm welcome really helped put them at ease.
"One of my biggest fears was meeting our new neighbors. I was wondering who they were going to be and what they were going to be like," Ms. Caraballo said. "When Paul welcomed us into the neighborhood, I knew I had made the right choice."
Mr. Callahan also sometimes offered the new homeowners advice and help with all kinds of issues they were facing with their new home.
"He was coming over with tools," Ms. Caraballo said. "He'd bring screwdrivers and teach Wilson how to fix up the garage, and Wilson followed all his advice."
The Caraballo kids love Mr. Callahan, and the elderly man makes great efforts to make them feel at home too.
"He's always coming over with little trinkets for the kids. They play with him a lot and call him Uncle Paul. He's got stories for days," Ms. Caraballo said.
As much as Mr. Callahan has helped the family, Ms. Caraballo thinks her family too played an important role in the months that followed the passing of Mr. Callahan's wife.
She said: "I asked what drew him to us and he said he was a very social person and that he grew up around lots of kids. He said, 'That's how I grew up, my house was always where everybody hung out. He's also the last of his siblings, who have all passed away.'"