I'm such a sucker for father/son stories. Field of Dreams still makes me weep like a little girl. But this is definitely the sweetest/saddest/sweetest again thing I've found on the Interwebs in weeks. When Jack Hammond, an 88 year-old British WWII vet, moved into a retirement home some 40Km from his old 'hood, he had trouble finding suitable pub companions. And darn it if that didn't make him lonely. So his son, 56-yearl-old Mike Hammond, put an ad in the post office for two blokes to accompany his dad to the local twice a week, for 7 quid a go. The response was overwhelming:
He was so inundated with offers - including one from a 16-year-old - that he interviewed candidates by phone before asking a shortlist of three to join him and Jack for a trial drink. The successful pair, Trevor Pugh, 78, a retired kitchen fitter from Southampton with a military background, and Henry Rosenvinge, 58, a former doctor, will now spend several nights a week with Jack chatting about military history and current affairs.
Pugh will pocket the money to supplement his pension, but won't charge expenses. Rosenvinge is working Pro Bono:
"He has a lot of stories and we are both from Lancashire so we have a lot we can argue about. I'm looking to come once a week for a couple of hours but we will be careful - we know what our limits are with alcohol."
Hammond's son will continue taking his dad to the pub twice a week.
At first pass, this is a weird story. Nobody wants to have 'paid friends'. But its a sad truth that as people age in our society, they can get increasingly isolated and alone. Fortunately, Jack Hammond has a son that cares enough to do something about it, even if his solution is a little unorthodox. And in the end, he may have found his father some new buddies. I'm not exactly sure why, but I find this story oddly touching. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, we were put on this earth to fart around. And nobody wants to do that alone.