James Gray, 85, just wanted someone to eat lunch with on Christmas Day. After a decade of holiday seasons alone — and with no family to call on — the retired butler was determined to have a little Christmastime companionship.
So he placed a want ad in the Irish Post, looking to organize a group of fellow lonely pensioners to spend Christmas with. Only one person responded. Worse, that person later backed out, saying she was spending the day with someone else.
Things turned around, however, when the Irish Post ran a story about his plight that painted a bleak picture for not only Gray, but the nearly half a million over-65s facing December 25 alone in Britain this year.
“I think the last time I saw someone on Christmas Day was when I saw my accountant about 10 years ago,” Gray told the paper. “I think there must be quite a few lonely people around and I am on my own, so it would make sense I think if someone came here for Christmas lunch.”
Since the story ran, Gray has been overwhelmed with offers from potential companions, not to mention gifts and a flooding of Christmas cards. The paper has delivered nearly 300 cards to Gray this week. And that’s just from local deliveries. Packages and envelopes from Uruguay, America, and Australia are expected by the end of the week. Not bad for a guy who didn’t receive a single birthday card last year.
As for his Christmas plans, Gray definitely won’t be alone. The Irish Post has taken charge and will finalize the details of a special meal for Gray and some guests very soon.