Grandma gets big surprise for 101st birthday

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A Washington state grandmother's wishes were granted for her latest birthday. (WLS)

A Washington state grandmother's wishes were granted for her latest birthday.

Eileen Wilkinson has an online following thanks to her grandson, but what she really wants is to receive lots of letters. And this year, for her 101st birthday, that's exactly what she got.

A simple trip to pick up her mail quickly turned into a very special delivery for Grandma Eileen from Issaquah, her friends and family patiently awaiting her arrival inside the local UPS store.

Grandma Eileen quickly realized it wasn't just one special delivery in honor of her 101st birthday, but hundreds of them, all stuffing her mailbox. The big surprise was organized by her grandson, Mike Matthews, who lives in New York City and is a social media professor at New York University.

KCPQ talked to him, and he says Grandma Eileen has become famous on his social media pages, where he has set up a makeshift lemonade stand and virtually, Grandma Eileen connects with his followers through live videos, offering perfect strangers from all around the world an ear and some grandmotherly wisdom.

"I work in social media marketing full time and most of the people I work with they want to be famous or they want to be heard. They gain a lot of their energy from being seen online. My grandma just doesn't care. I think that is what it is, she just doesn't care about fame, she doesn't care about money, she doesn't want to monetize anything," Matthews said.

That's because at 101, Grandma Eileen knows those things don't really matter. It's a wisdom that only comes with age.

"Why would people be interested in an old lady?" Grandma Eileen said.

In this age of technology, that question isn't too hard to answer.

"How much money would you pay to listen to a 30 second video of your great-great-great grandmother to see her mannerisms and her laugh and her smile and her personality? It's priceless right?" Matthews said.

"Grandma Eileen" has an impressive online following. In addition to her grandson's "makeshift lemonade stand," she has an Instagram account and hosts Facebook Live chats.

On her 99th birthday, her grandson arranged for her to be a digital ambassador for her favorite fast food company, Wendy's. She doled out life advice and answered questions submitted by users on Twitter.

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