Friendships come in all shapes and sizes, but none that spell C-U-T-E like this one.
When a Silver Spring rapper, Spencer Sleyon, 22, logged onto a random game of Words With Friends over a year ago, he was matched with 81-year-old Rosalind ‘Roz’ Guttman, of Florida. Little did Sleyon know she would come to be his ‘best friend’.
The pair sparked an unusual companionship after Roz pulled a ‘phat’ out of the bag, impressing Sleyon, whose username ‘F*CKFACEFILTH’ was deemed ‘masterful alliteration’ by the octogenarian.
The pair developed a burgeoning friendship, Sleyon told The Root, adding:
One day I searched for a random game, and that’s how I ended up finding her. And we pretty much played every day for five months.
Sometimes we’d speak about personal things, but nothing extra personal… Politics, the election, hurricanes.
Sleyon logged off after life ‘became too hectic’, and the pair lost touch. Roz had told Sleyon to always reach for the stars, and in some part, that advice led him to move to Harlem to pursue his dream of producing and rapping.
While there, he reconnected with an old friend, Hannah, whose mother, Pastor Amy Butler, helped Roz and Spencer meet for the first time in person in Florida just last week.
Butler told The Root:
One night, a few months ago, they started a conversation about who their best friends were, and Spencer said, ‘My best friend is an 80-year-old white woman who lives in a retirement community in Florida’, and I said, ‘What?’
…Because I’m in the business of bringing people together…I pitched the idea of meeting Roz to Spencer, and he said yes.
She’s 86 & lives in a retirement community in Florida. He’s 22 and lives in Harlem. They met online playing #wordswithfriends. Tomorrow they’ll meet in person. I get to be there. #relationshipschangeus pic.twitter.com/xNJjK3ga6H
— Amy Butler (@PastorAmyTRC) December 1, 2017
The story quickly went viral after Sleyon shared it with Twitter, writing:
so last summer i randomly met this 80 y/o woman on words with friends. we played 300+ games together and she actually ended up becoming a good friend of mine. today i got to go to florida and meet her in person
He shared some pictures of the friends’ reunion:
so last summer i randomly met this 80 y/o woman on words with friends. we played 300+ games together and she actually ended up becoming a good friend of mine. today i got to go to florida and meet her in person? pic.twitter.com/VXDbNS4eUo
— High Class Filth (@Filth800) December 1, 2017
and to clear the air, she was not crushing me boy don’t play with me pic.twitter.com/FcESsdO097
— High Class Filth (@Filth800) December 2, 2017
Needing some good news, the tweet has since racked up over one million likes, at time of writing.
The story has evoked a serious wave of feels, with some people admitting they cried when they saw the photographs of the two companions meeting for the first time.
Join them, and us, in sharing more of this love:
Sitting in a restaurant here totally choking up. My family’s like “what just happened to mom?”
— Jessica Webster (@A2Jess) December 2, 2017
this is the kinda thing i wanna see in America, not the negative stuff that’s talked about on a daily basis
— ㅤㅤㅤㅤ (@___Wazza) December 2, 2017
This is so beautiful. My grinch heart just grew.
— K Van Munching (@KimVanMunching) December 2, 2017
Others also shared stories about their own Friends with Words:
I made a beautiful friend on WWF many years ago. I am American, she was from UK. We vacationed together here and in Perú. Then cancer took her a little over a year ago. So grateful for her presence, however short, in my life—and grateful you got to meet your WW Friend! God Bless!
— Patricia Cuxirimay (@patriciaturner) December 2, 2017
My mom met her now-husband on words with friends. They started playing May 2014 and got married February 2017. ? @WordsWFriends
— Victoria (@victorigiddings) December 3, 2017
Others roasted the young man for his vocabulary:
She crushing you in unique words damn bruh
— Jack Stockton (@stock_jackton4) December 2, 2017
You can see the exact point you started using the word finder site lmao
— emvy studio (@emvystudio) December 2, 2017
But Words With Friends seem to approve anyway.
Frank Gibeau, CEO of Zynga, the makers of Words With Friends, said:
Spencer and Roz’s story is a wonderful illustration of how powerful games can be in bringing people together across generations and geographies. Since launching eight years ago, Words With Friends is an incredible platform for connection.
They have also retweeted a lot of ‘ugly cry’ memes:
— Words With Friends (@WordsWFriends) December 2, 2017
When The Root asked why he thought the story went viral, Sleyon said:
Besides the obvious — the fact that I’m a young black male and this is an old white woman — a lot of people enjoyed the fact that we were able to get so close, especially given the tension in the country.
Ironically, there are no words to express the feels.
A former emo kid who talks too much about 8Chan meme culture, the Kardashian Klan, and how her smartphone is probably killing her. Francesca is a Cardiff University Journalism Masters grad who has done words for BBC, ELLE, The Debrief, DAZED, an art magazine you’ve never heard of and a feminist zine which never went to print.