DENVER -- An Arkansas woman is encouraging others to be kind to strangers after spending a day with her Uber driver while visiting Denver.
Katlyn Gardenhire posted about her experience on Facebook and it has been shared hundreds of times since Sunday.
She planned on spending the weekend in Denver with her boyfriend but his flight was canceled Friday night. She decided to make the most of her stay and ordered an Uber to Red Rocks Park Saturday morning.
Gardenhire says a man named Robert picked her up and she made the decision to sit in the front seat.
"I just started talking his head off," she said.
Gardenhire quickly learned Robert was an Air Force veteran and retired postal worker. She says by the time they reached Red Rocks, she didn't feel the conversation was over.
"I turned to him and I said, 'I don't know if you want to do this or not but I'm alone and I would like some company. Do you want to hike with me?'" said Gardenhire.
The two strangers posed for pictures on their hike that resemble a family vacation. Gardenhire says she understands some people would question her decision.
"I didn't get any kind of weird vibe from him," said Gardenhire.
Their day didn't end after Red Rocks. Gardenhire says they enjoyed lunch on a nearby rooftop then headed downtown to grab coffee. She even tried ice skating while her new acquaintance snapped photos and a video. The two also discovered they share a birthday.
Gardenhire says it was clear Robert needed someone to talk with. It's something she understands after she was diagnosed with a brain tumor that required multiple surgeries in 2018.
"Through all my health issues I always had someone to talk to, whether it was my boyfriend, friend, family, coworker. And not everyone has that," said Gardenhire.
She hopes her story of embracing a stranger encourages others to be present and be kind.
"I could have easily ignored Robert when I got in the car. I could have sat in the back seat on my phone, but I didn't. You never know how your kindness will affect another person," said Gardenhire.
Gardenhire says she plans on getting together with Robert the next time she's in Denver.