A death in the family, a wrong number, and the meeting of two cultures

Here’s today’s daily dose of sweetness:

Leena Ali, a college student in St. Catharines, Ont., got a text message a few weeks ago. It was a wrong number from Dawn Burke, 43, from Niagara, Ont. Her aunt had died and she thought she was letting her nephew know the time and place of the celebration of her life, the Toronto Star says.

Leena let Dawn know her number wasn’t her nephew, then asked if she could come to the celebration anyway.

She offered to bring a bowl of fruit.

“Culturally, that’s what we do,” said Ali, who is Sudanese. “If someone invites you somewhere or brings you somewhere, you should bring something.”

“When I found out that it wasn’t Quentin (I texted), I just thought ‘I’ve gotta go with this, because my aunt Debbie would.’ Aunt Deb would invite these people, whoever they are, into her home. That’s just who she was,” said Burke.

Ali has never heard of people celebrating a life.

So a few weeks ago, Ali, bearing fruit, and Dawn met up and celebrated Aunt Deb’s life.

“This is something I would have done any day of any week,” Ali tells the Star. “Even my friends know I’m just a person who does this, they were shocked that it got so much attention because they are so used to it.”

“My family hasn’t stopped talking about it,” said Burke. “Things happen for a reason and at such a sad time in our life (Ali’s visit) made it the brightest.”