The sad story that convinced a young woman to brighten the lives (and nails) of the lonely for free this Christmas

A nail bar owner is spreading generous Christmas cheer by offering a free manicure - along with a chinwag - to anyone lonely over the festive season.

Jenna Pike told ITV News she's offered up her professional services for nothing after being moved by a chance conversation with a "lovely little old lady" who had escaped the winter cold to have her nails tended late last month.

The woman had gone to Kolours Beauty Bar in Edinburgh after arthritis had made her unable to do her own nails.

Jenna, 23, said she asked the customer mid-manicure if she had any plans for the rest of the day and was told: "No, I'm just going home to get warm in my house."

Jenna has only one demand in return for her free treatment. Credit: ITV News

"So I asked her, 'what about the rest of the week?' Jenna recounted.

"And she said: 'No, I've got nothing planned, because there's not really anyone around.'"

Jenna said the exchange "made me sad" - but quickly inspired to do something about it.

Jenna Pike said she revels in hearing stories from lives so different to her own. Credit: ITV News

She took to Facebook that evening and posted her offer of a free manicure for anyone else left lonely heading into Christmas.

She made only one demand: the recipient of the treatment had to share one interesting tale about themselves.

"I think that elderly people have the most amazing life stories that my generation's never going to get to experience," Jenna explained.

Jenna Pike made her public offer on Facebook in late November. Credit: Facebook/Jenna Pike

She said she's been overwhelmed by the response to her posting and has already made good on her public pledge for a few elderly people through December.

Besides bringing a lift to her older clients' day, she also wants to brighten their hands and convince them to try a bold red rather than a plain tone.

"I feel like a lot of elderly people are maybe a bit ashamed or sad by their hands," she said.

Jenna Pike said her clients' hands tell the story of their lives. Credit: ITV News

"And I think your hands tell the story of your life, so why would you be ashamed of that?"

Jenna also hopes other people join her in doing little acts of festive goodwill, in whatever way they can.

"(If) you can only offer a small amount of time, do it," she said. "That smallest thing matters to someone somewhere.

"Even if you don't celebrate Christmas in the sense that it's presents and Santa Claus, I just think it's a time that everyone should be together. Everyone should have somebody to spend your time with."