a very good update: how to tell a former employee he can’t visit us weekly

Remember the letter-writer asking how to tell a former employee he couldn’t visit their office weekly (#3 at the link)? The update is one of my favorites ever (and I probably should have saved it for Valentine’s Day but you are getting it now because I love it too much to wait):

I have an update to a question you posted a few months ago about our retired worker, Frank, who kept dropping by weekly for hours long chats. A very big THANK YOU to the commenters who suggested volunteer work. I don’t know why that hadn’t occurred to me since my aunt founded and ran a nonprofit near and dear to me (shout out to diaper banks, which are a huge unmet need in many communities where diapers aren’t covered by food assistance programs or food banks).

The next week when Frank came in, I saw two people run in the other direction and decided to address it. I invited Frank to lunch and unprompted he shared that he was really at loose ends and didn’t know how to spend his time. I brought up volunteering and he said he didn’t know how to find a place to volunteer, how do you even apply, and who would want his help (EVERYONE! everyone wants people who have unlimited daytime ability). I gave him my aunt’s number then and there and sent her a text to expect his call.

He called the next day and by the following week was a full-time fixture there. At Thanksgiving, I asked my aunt how Frank was doing and she gushed about his hard work pitching in wherever, his positivity, the ideas he was bringing to the table. She loved Frank.

New Year’s rolls around and we have another family get-together and who walks in but Frank! He and my aunt are in a relationship! They are looking at moving in together!!! They are both ehhh on marriage but “we’ll see”! The office has a break from Frank but now I might be getting more of him. I don’t know if AAM has been responsible for a love match before, but I’m crediting this one to you and the commenters for this kismet!

❤️    ❤️    ❤️

{ 237 comments… read them below }

      1. Middle Aged Lady*

        Agreed. Everyone won! Especially the people who so desperately need volunteers to make sure they get their needs met. It’s a hard world out there, and compassionate helpers are always needed.

  1. Lydia*

    This is the most incredible update ever and what an amazing outcome. Good for you! Hurray for Frank! And hurray for your aunt!

    More of this in 2023, please!

    1. allathian*

      Yes, please!

      What a lovely post! I agree with Alison, this would’ve been perfect for Valentine’s day, but I don’t blame her for posting this today.

    1. Gerry Keay*

      Okay same! I was already having a weirdly emotional day but when I got to the “and they’re dating!” plot twist, I started getting misty!!! Like ugh, what a beautiful lil tale of everyone communicating and getting their needs met and then some.

      1. Analytical Tree Hugger*

        Total plot twist! Maybe I shouldn’t have been so surprised (given the Valentine’s Day note from Alison), but I was all: “Whaaaat?”, followed by, “Squeeee! That’s adorable!!”

      2. Ghostlight*

        I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

        This is the first time AAM has made me tear up with happy tears instead of tears of laughter.

  2. Hills to Die on*

    Aw, this is the best! I love that Frank has turned his lonliness and boredom into something beautiful for others and himself – and found love!
    Might be my favorite update ever as well!

  3. snarkalupagus*

    OMG, this is exactly what I needed today. Thanks to your aunt and Frank for what they’re doing, thanks to you for the legwork you did to set it up, thanks to AAM for being what it is…I don’t know that this update will top those from the spicy food theft victim, the person who was surviving on cupcakes from the lunchroom and the amazing response to her plight, or the person who quit with the two hours’ notice that they were given to process their nepotism demotion, but it’s definitely up there in my top five. I feel like I want to donate some diapers in celebration of this particular happy ending.

    1. Hotdog not dog*

      That’s a great idea! Our local food pantry distributes diapers, wipes, and feminine hygiene products. I feel like I should send them an extra donation.

    2. Dr. Doll*

      We all totally should do that and make them all in name of “Uncle Frank” and Ask a Manager! :-)

    3. Andrew*

      the person who quit with the two hours’ notice that they were given to process their nepotism demotion

      ^ I absolutely remember reading this one but can’t seem to find the post (or the right words to Google to find it) — can anyone repoint me to it? Thank you!!

        1. Michelle Smith*

          Was there ever an update on this? I assume since it’s not linked by Alison on the post there’s not, but if anyone knows for sure?

      1. Marketing Unicorn Ninja*

        I found it and I’ll post the link in a follow-up since it’ll go through moderation.

    4. Phryne*

      I don’t recall ever reading the surviving on cupcakes from the lunchroom one, and I can’t find anything… anyone have a link?

  4. Mostly Managing*

    I may be a little emotional this week.
    Or someone’s cutting onions.
    Or something.

    I love this. It’s just… so perfect in so many ways.

  5. Someone Else's Boss*

    This is the cutest update I’ve ever seen on AAM. I’m so happy for Frank and his new lady!

    1. Jzilbeck*

      I knowwwww!!! I love it!

      Also love the charities that help with baby products. Haven’t donated diapers, but I’ve donated formula to my local food pantry after being blessed with a bountiful milk supply for my infant.

  6. SHEILA, the co-host*

    Excuse me, where did all this dust come from?

    Really, though, this is the best. Frank and your Aunt are doing amazing work for people who really need it and have found each other in the process.

      1. Princess Sparklepony*

        A movie for the older folks… there could be a younger couple based on the LW though. But the focus on the older folks. They don’t get much, it’s all young people. The AARP audience is pretty big.

  7. Bubbles*

    What a lovely update! Congratulations to Frank and Aunt on their new relationship, and a huge thanks to both of them for working to fill such an important need in the community. Win-win all around!

  8. Hotdog not dog*

    Is there a “best update ever” category? Thanks for not making us wait for Valentines Day for this!

    1. Bug*

      This is the best update ever! Alison, I needed this today, so thank you for sharing and not saving till V-Day!

    1. Purple Cat*

      Hallmark used to do movies based on “real events” (obviously dramatized). This would be such a good fit!

  9. ecnaseener*

    Cute!! I love that this all came out of your (and the other directors’) compassion for Frank – you could have just said “sorry, you need to stop visiting so much” and no one would blame you. But you wanted to figure out a kinder way, just for kindness’s sake, and everybody benefits!

    1. Where’s the Orchestra?*

      I think that somewhere deep down that Frank knew he was part of a problem, but just couldn’t find his way out. OP and their compassion not only gave Frank a way out, but helped everyone (including the Aunt who wasn’t in the first letter).

  10. AppleStan*

    Alison, I see why you couldn’t wait to post this update! This is wonderful.

    I’m glad that things worked out for Frank and the OP. But I’m also glad that this is going to allow Frank to maintain such a positive relationship with his former coworkers. That’s a bridge i really didn’t want him to burn.

    Great update!

  11. Bookworm*

    This is freaking adorable. If I hadn’t read the bold I might have thought “oh no, he’s a stalker or something” but this is so lovely. A great way to start the week. I’m glad Alison didn’t wait to post. :)

  12. 2 Cents*

    Aww, I really needed to read something like this today. I love the OP for taking the time to help Frank, I love Frank for going full steam ahead in volunteering, and I love that he and the aunt found something special.

    Also, the local pediatrician network by me has a nonprofit associated with it that’s a diaper bank and they always need donations of diapers and wipes. As a mom, I can’t imagine needing to keep my child in a dirty diaper longer because I don’t have a choice. Amazon and Target both have great sales every once in a while that I just ship right to the nonprofit.

  13. Frankly speaking*

    Awww, that’s so sweet. ^_^ Some retirees at loose ends make terrible volunteers, so I am so glad this worked out for the best on all fronts!

  14. IT But I Can't Fix Your Printer*

    Okay who’s going to search through the AAM archives for the perfect wedding vows??

  15. H.Regalis*

    This is really sweet. We read about a lot of bad stuff here–no one writes in to an advice blog if everything’s going well–and it’s nice to see something happy.

  16. old curmudgeon*

    Awwwwwww! I am all teary – this is such a wonderful update!

    I can understand why you thought it would be great for February 14, Alison, but I am really, really glad you posted it today. You and the OP just made a fairly awful Monday exponentially better!

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      You’ve given me a sentence that i can use to explain why we hyphenate some phrases in our pubs:

      Retiree diaper-charity romance (which we know you meant by context)

      Versus the wrong reading: Retiree-diaper charity romance (yikes)

  17. EmKay*

    Alison, this comment section is overrun with ninjas who are cutting large quantities of onions.

    please DO something ;_;

  18. The Cat's ass*

    This has thrilled me down to the bottom of my blackened an shrivelled little heart! Thank you!

  19. PassThePeasPlease*

    This is such a heartening update on a cold Monday morning! So glad to hear that it seems to work out for all involved and an extra nod of accomplishment to the letter writer who nudged things along for Frank (with the help of folks here)!

    After hearing about the struggles of retired adults and experiencing it firsthand with a few family members, I really think there should be some type of program for those exiting the workforce, commensurate with the guidance we give recent high school/college grads. It is SUCH a big transition, especially as norms shift and it might not be the typical cruise-ship passenger to assisted living pipeline that’s been one of the norms in years past.

  20. Ask An Event Manager*

    Her aunt isn’t his supervisor, right? The CoC wasn’t well established in the update.

    Still happy they’re happy, but given how often that happens on this site…

  21. NeedRain47*

    I was delighted by the volunteering bit but LOL, Frank’s practically your uncle now! Wasn’t expecting that.

  22. BatManDan*

    I guess it goes to show, sometimes it’s not the person that’s at fault, they just need to find the right place to flourish!

  23. rebelwithmouseyhair*

    Wondering why on earth anything on a manager website would warrant a post on Valentines day… OK Auntie well done for the sweetest of plot twists!

  24. Tedious Cat*

    I was sort of thinking “ehhh, how good could an update be?”

    I was wrong. This is lovely. I will trust Alison.

  25. pagooey*

    Back off, Monday–you can’t touch this! :D What an absolutely delightful update. My whole week is made!

  26. Casual Librarian*

    This is the exact energy I needed to roll into this Monday afternoon. Thanks for the update!

  27. Lucien Nova*

    Aw! I needed this today. Good for Frank, good for aunt, good for everyone.

    Now if you’ll excuse me I must *sniff* shoo the sentient onion back outside…

  28. Ferret*

    I don’t know if this can displace “Go get YOUR|dog” but this is adorable and it makes me very happy. Alison, you should totally create a ‘best updates’ category

  29. DD*

    This needs to be nominated for best Update of the year. Right after Best Update of the Year becomes an annual category.

  30. Snoozing not schmoozing*

    This is the best movie-in-my-head story in ages! It brings back memories of when the small staff at a private library where I worked brought together two rather lonely, middle-aged people, our tech services manager and a patron/library member. That match was deliberate rather than an accidental by-product, but had just as happy an ending – they’ve been together 30 years now! Thank goodness it was before Ask a Manager, because those of us involved in the matchmaking broke just about every one of your rules on interpersonal relationships in the workplace. :)

  31. Peanut Hamper*

    Also, thanks for the reminder about diaper banks! If you can donate, please do. This is often an unmet need in many communities.

  32. Gigi*

    Sweet baby Elvis on a ritz cracker. Is this how I’m finally going to join a productive relationship? Post retirement in a diaper bank? Because I’m here for that.

  33. Regular Human Accountant*

    I think this is the first time that AAM has made me cry. All the best to your aunt and (Uncle?) Frank!

  34. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Someone’s peeling onions in the office again, I’ll be right back….
    This is wonderful.

  35. Goldenrod*

    “New Year’s rolls around and we have another family get-together and who walks in but Frank! He and my aunt are in a relationship! They are looking at moving in together!!!”


  36. Skyblue*

    I’m soooo happy for Frank. I really felt terrible for him when I first read the letter. Getting old can be so hard. This update is amazing! Yay!!

  37. Awesome3*

    “I don’t know if AAM has been responsible for a love match before, but I’m crediting this one to you and the commenters for this kismet!”

    I’m obsessed!!!!!!

  38. Lizzo*

    Between this and the kitty profiles I am simultaneously crying happy tears and squee-ing all over the place!!! HOORAY!

  39. Curmudgeon in California (they/them)*

    Awwww, that’s so sweet! Frank found something to good do and a new relationship.

      1. Ex-prof*

        It was among the updates this past December, I think. The LW said that they were no longer concerned about the worker they’d previously written in about, because said worker had won the lottery, and was last seen in a photo in the local newspaper holding a giant cardboard check for millions of dollars.

  40. WellRed*

    I love the update but more so for how it helped Fred find purpose. And thank you to the OP for making it easy to connect with an opportunity. It’s one thing to say volunteer opportunities abound but in reality, they can be difficult to find.

  41. Happy Pineapple*

    Well this is absolutely delightful! There really is no better way to meet someone than through volunteering, because you already know you share the same passion!

  42. Storm in a teacup*

    Aw love this!
    OP does Frank know about the AAM post that kicked this off and it’s hand in the meet-cute?

    If so, and if there is a wedding, will Alison get to attend and what hat will she wear? ( last point is very much a British reference for those of us of a certain age)

  43. brjeau*

    How wonderful! Based on your original letter Frank sounds like a genuinely lovely guy, I’m so glad things are going well for him!

  44. ChelseaNH*

    FYI, after my grandmother retired, she volunteered as a volunteer coordinator at United Way, matching people with opportunities. So if you’re looking for something but you don’t know what specifically you want to do, that’s an avenue to see what is needed across a variety of organizations.

  45. AthenaC*

    This is a lovely update! So happy for Frank and that he was able to get what he needed without disrupting the office.

    Also, thanks for the diaper bank shout-out, because every baby needs a clean butt. If any of you all are so inclined, look up your local National Diaper Bank Network member and see what help they need, whether it’s volunteers or diaper drives.

  46. Susannah*

    Oh, this made my day! So glad for Frank, who sounds like a lovely man who needed a purpose. And to find love is even more amazing. This tale is a great antidote to the tragic stories of hate we read. Wonderful!

  47. H3llifIknow*

    This update gave me all the feels! I don’t know that I’ve smiled so much at a letter on this site. Thank you to the OP. My heart needed this today.

  48. Beebis*

    Oh my heart what a wonderful update. Please send Alison wedding pics if they end up getting married!

  49. Third or Nothing!*

    This may be one of my favorite updates ever! What a sweet wholesome story!!! I’m so glad Frank found a place where he could contribute and as a bonus found someone he enjoys spending time with.

  50. Carpe Librarium*

    This is amazing.
    Alison, perhaps you could put out a post encouraging readers to comment with occasions they witnessed love bloom while they were on the job.

  51. Moira Rose's Closet*

    I am sitting here with tears in my eyes. Such a beautiful update!! Thank you, Alison!

  52. Rumpole's Old Bailey*

    Well that’s a punch the air in all around triumph and wonderfulness kind of update.

  53. Moonstone*

    I love absolutely everything about this update! The care LW took to talk to Frank privately and dig into what was going on; that Frank opened up to LW and provided the opportunity for LW to connect him to the aunt; and the relationship! It is magical and I wish nothing but the best to all involved!

  54. Bébé chat*

    Ok I know I’m hormonal, but this update just made me literally cry. It’s such wonderfull news! Both because he gets to help a lot of people trough the nonprofit, and because LOVE <3

  55. The Eye of Argon*

    What a great update for everyone: you get peace at work (and possibly an Uncle Frank!), Frank found a great new calling at a place where he’s really appreciated, and he and your aunt found each other.

    Most of all, thanks for mentioning diaper banks. I’m going to see if there’s a local one and make a contribution so more babies can have dry, happy bottoms and ease the financial burden on their parents a bit.

  56. commonsensesometimesmakessense*

    OMG! What a heartwarming update! I was over the moon about it before I even got to the part about Frank and the aunt getting together! This really is one of the best updates ever!

  57. Anxious Bee*

    Well happy early Valentine’s day to OP, your aunt, Frank, and all of us here at AAM. This was exactly what I needed to brighten up my day

  58. 1-800-BrownCow*

    I can’t believe my reaction to this AAM letter, but I actually teared up while reading! Even before I got to the relationship part. WOW, this has got to be one of the BEST. UPDATES. EVER!!!

  59. Anonomatopoeia*

    This is an entire gosh darn romance novel. There is a character in need of a place, there is a conflict, there is an intervention, and then ta-daaaaah there is a smoochez. One million hearts.

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