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

Twenty years ago, a Delray Beach woman tried to call her sister from Maryland, but accidentally dialed an incorrect 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.


“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?”

A simple question led to a lifelong friendship. The strangers connected and they began to talk.

Mike Moffitt at Fisher Towers hiking trail

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 discovered that Gladys Hankerson was her name, and they became phone pals, talking every few months.

Hankerson began calling him to inquire about his family’s health and the weather in his region. Moffitt started doing the same.

Their conversations were brief and never became personal. However, every once in a while, one would call to check in with their other.

Moffitt stated that their calls brightened Moffitt’s days. They were separated by approximately 30 years and thousands miles, but they were able form an unlikely bond.

Mike Moffitt with his wife Sarah Butler Moffitt.

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 the rest of his family sometimes travel down to Florida in order to escape the cold winter. He realized that the place they used to stay was only 45 minutes from Hankerson’s home.

However, he was skeptical 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.

The timing worked out this year. The Moffitts chose to spend Thanksgiving in Florida and then look at colleges for their oldest 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. Her daughter welcomed him in by welcoming him to her home with a bouquet and flowers.

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

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 Moffitt a tour of her house and introduced him with 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.

Moffitt shared a smile and a hug with the couple.

“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

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.

Hankerson says that he regards Moffitt like 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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