Bill Nangle, an 89-year-old man living at a nursing home in Lafayette, IN, has been a fanatic about the game of chess for almost 70 years. But no one at Creasy Springs Health Campus nursing home--where he's lived for three years--was interested in playing with him, so the personable yet lonely man finally got desperate and posted a cardboard sign to his bedroom door.
On the sign was a simple plea: "Anybody want to play chess?"
It broke the hearts of all who saw it, his daughter, Trish Gaylord, told ABC News.
"It was just so sad," she recalled. "I said, 'Oh my gosh, how can I get him some chess players?'"
She finally had the idea to contact the local McCutcheon High School, from which Trish's own kids graduated, to see if they had any students who were interested in the game. The school's assistant principal was happy to help rally a small group of six seniors--some members of the school's board game club and some from the National Honor Society--who were willing to challenge the elderly man to a match.
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Now, every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, the kids meet at his nursing home to play chess with Nangle.
"Getting his chance to play chess has really fulfilled him because he loves it," Gaylord told ABC News today. "He is very happy being able to do this. I kicked myself because I didn't do this sooner."
"It's a special connection," Paige Vester, life enrichment director of the nursing home, said about Bill's newfound friendship with the teens. "He's very talkative, very personable... he's hilarious."
The students who come to spend time with him agree.
"I enjoy interacting with Bill," said Ryan Howard, 18, one of the students who plays. I have elderly grandparents that I don't get to see much. Interacting with that generation is very meaningful for me. Bill enjoys the experience very much."
Watch this quick video to see more images from their sweet interactions.
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