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An elderly man in the U.K. showed a neighboring family what Christmas is all about in the weeks before his death

By Maura Hohman
December 19, 2018 03:25 PM
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Credit: Courtesy Owen Williams

An elderly man in the U.K. showed a neighboring family what Christmas is all about in the weeks after his death.

According to a series of tweets posted Owen Williams, his neighbor, Ken Watson, died recently — but not before he got the chance to develop a special bond with Williams’ 2-year-old daughter, Cadi. Williams and his wife, Caroline, who live in Wales, told BBC that Watson “doted” on their toddler.

On Monday, Williams posted on social media that Watson’s daughter “popped round a few moments ago clutching a large plastic sack. In the sack were all the Christmas presents he’d bought for *our* daughter for the next thirteen years.” He then corrected himself in a follow-up tweet, saying that Watson had actually bought 14 gifts.

“[Ken] always told us he’d live till he was 100-years-old, so these gifts would have taken him up to our little girl’s 16th Christmas,” Williams added.

The images Cadi’s dad shared include boxes of all shapes in a variety of types of wrapping paper. Williams suspected they were mostly books, soft toys and some Duplos, he told BBC.

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The presents for Owen Williams’ daughter
| Credit: Courtesy Owen Williams

Williams even opened one present early, a book titled Christmas Eve at the Mellops’ by Tomi Ungerer, who was so touched by the story that he offered to sign their copy, according to Twitter.

After Cadi’s parents received the bag, Williams told the outlet that he, his wife and his mother-in-law, who watched over FaceTime, immediately started crying.

“It’s difficult describing it because it was so unexpected,” he said. “I don’t know how long he put them away, whether it was over the last two years or whether he bought them towards the end of his life.”

Now, the only dilemma that remains is if he should gift Cadi all of them this year or give her one annually until they run out. Williams asked his followers their thoughts via Twitter poll.

“My wife and I think it might make a nice Christmas tradition to give our daughter ‘a present from Ken’ for the next 14 years,” he explained. “Issue is, we really have to open them now. Nobody wants to give a fifteen-year-old Duplo!”

Because the Twitterverse was so touched by the story, Williams shared some more details about Waston in a thread.

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“Ken was a former salvage diver, seaman, carpenter, baker…” Williams tweeted. “The first time I met him, he was bouncing a 20ft ladder across the face of his house. He was on top. He was 83 at the time.”

He continued, “Our dog loved him. I mean, genuine visceral love. It was mainly due to the chocolate digestive biscuits he gave her on first meeting. She’d scream whenever she saw him. Really scream. Like a banshee. He’d call her ‘my darling’ and ‘sweetheart.’ ”

“He played the accordion,” Williams added. “We’d hear the strains of oompah drift through the kitchen wall late at night. He said he’d live to 100.”

According to local outlet Barry & District News, at age 85, Watson stood on top of a biplane as it flew through the skies and parachute jumped off it. He always said he wanted to do it again.