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A smile on Jefferson Avenue: The unlikely friendship formed in the wake of the Tops shooting

Mary Louise Allen & Cory Gallagher
Posted at 11:09 PM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 10:20:41-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW)  — If you walk around the home where 88-year-old Mary Louise Adams has lived since 1968 you'll find a lot of photos.

That's because Adams has raised four children in that home, and welcomed 12 grandchildren and 29 great-grandchildren into her life.

She loves pictures, loves people and loves her community.

So on the afternoon of May 21, she walked down to Tops on Jefferson avenue to pay her respects to the 10 people who lost their lives on Saturday, May 14.

"I went to look at the pictures and the flowers and that's when he came up and said 'Can I hug you all?', and we started talking and everything," said Adams.

A chance meeting that started with a smile.

"My father always said all friendship starts with a smile," said Cory James Gallagher. "I immediately offered my condolences to them and what the community is going through."

The pair exchanged numbers, and has since enjoyed tea and conversation.

Gallagher soon learned that Adams was supposed to be at the Top on Jefferson right before the gunman opened fire that day.

Adams often walked to the grocery store to pay her bills and get her prescriptions filled.

"I was just getting ready to go up there to get my medicine and my daughter called me and said, 'Mom, wait I'll be there in about five minutes.' But she had to stop somewhere else," said Adams.

The pair are now grieving through learning and understanding.

Gallagher, a tenor vocalist, will host an "Evening of Healing" concert to honor the ten victims of the shooting on Saturday, June 4, at 7:30 p.m. at the Columbia Bridid Church in Buffalo.

His new friend will be the guest of honor.

"I really like him. He is so nice, so nice and I'm his grandmother now," according to Adams.

The friendship that began between Gallagher and Adams is one of respect, understanding and love, and it all started with a smile on Jefferson Avenue.