After returning home to Bethlehem, Penn., after studying abroad in Florence, Italy, 20-year-old Mia Bongardino joined the effort to help curb the further spread of coronavirus by self-quarantining for the CDC-recommended 14-day period.
“I just got back from Italy and was required to self-quarantine in my room for 14 days so my parents ate every meal with me from the hallway. I don’t deserve them,” she tweeted about a video that has garnered nearly 15 million views since it was posted Thursday. Bongardino, a Fashion Institute of Technology student, was studying abroad in the capital of the Tuscany region of Italy, which is currently under nationwide lockdown.
So for two weeks, in order to ensure she didn’t feel so isolated, she and her dad embarked on a ritual together.
Her dad, Steven Bongardino, moved a table upstairs to the hallway to be close to his daughter to share meals, and they enjoyed the routine at a safe distance apart.
“We were told by the New York Health Department to stay at least six feet away from our family members while quarantined hence the meals from the hall,” Bongardino told TIME.
She took her berries and yogurts on a tray in bed. He tucked into homemade dinners with some red wine and chatted with her across the way, eliciting plenty of hearty laughter from Mia.
Soon enough, the experience leveled up. Her father eventually and adorably added artificial candles to lighten the mood. Elegant! It didn’t stop there.
“My dad decided to start adding flowers and other little flourishes, trying to one-up the decoration from the day before. The pine cone, the candles,” she said.
“Yeah baby, that’s what I’m talking about,” he said as he elevated the experience. Soon enough her mother joined the superdad to raise a glass.
They kept the much-needed connection going, and she captured it all.
He gamely waves and smiles under her direction, and people were delighted to see them establish the temporary tradition. Apparently, these gestures are par for the course for the family, but internet fame is not.
“My parents always go out of their way to do sweet things like this, but I think this has definitely brought us a bit closer considering the unexpected popularity of the video,” she said.
Finally, when she was finished with the 14-day period, this perhaps never closer family joined together at the table. As might be expected, the joyful moment warmed the hearts of the internet.
“We are all good now,” she said. “I tested negative for the coronavirus and was released from quarantine.”
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