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Widower, 89, offered bar job after “stop me dying from boredom” ad

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Chris Sayer
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A lonely 89-year-old war veteran Joe Bartley has said he feels like he “won a thousand bucks on the horses” after he was offered a job in a cafe in the seaside town of Paignton, Devon.

Two years after the death of his wife Cassandra and with no children of his own, Joe Bartley, who served as a member of the 6th Airborne division in Palestine during WW2, placed the following ad in local paper The Herald Express in the hope his prayers for part-time and sanity-saving work would be answered:

‘Senior citizen 89 seeks employment in the Paignton area. 20hrs+ per week. Still able to clean, light gardening, DIY and anything. I have references. Old soldier, airborne forces. Save me dying from boredom!’

Think that really tugs on the old heartstrings, do you? Oh boy, just you wait to hear the reason why he’s up for a spot of part-time work:

“I miss my wife dreadfully, and when you live on your own there is no one to speak to,” Joe told The Guardian. “Since she died I’ve moved into a flat and it’s a big block. Once you walk into that flat it’s like solitary confinement. I like reading, and I’ll watch a bit of television but there’s a lot of guff on these days. I just got bored stiff with nothing to do, and I thought even though I am 89 I can still work. I can work a hoover, I can clean tables, some gardening - anything really.”

Finished biting your fist yet? Cool. Because this is a story with a really really happy ending.

Just a few days after the newspaper advert hit the streets, Joe described the response to his plea as “blinkin’ mad”, with offers for work coming in left, right and centre. Aside from a couple of “lady callers” approaching him with some odd-job work, such as putting up a wardrobe and painting walls, Joe’s ad was spotted by a local family-run café in his hometown.

“No matter what your age or your background, you deserve a chance,” Cantina Bar and Kitchen’s co-owner Sarah Martin also told The Guardian. “Most people have got something to offer and Joe is someone who is keen, who is putting himself out there. What is not to like about that? A lot of people who come here don’t just come for coffee, they come for a chat, so Joe is perfect.”

“The owner phoned me and said she was interested, and asked me to come in,” Joe said. “So I arrived at the cafe and we’ve had a bit of a chat with the owner, and shook hands.”

Joe now gets a lift to work with his boss every Sunday, and takes the bus to fulfil his weekday shifts, too.

On describing his first day in the new job, Joe said: “I thought I’d be really nervous, but I’m taking it all in and I’m okay about it, y’know. [I’m] quite happy in a way. In a way you feel when you’ve won a thousand bucks on the horses.”

See? Old 2016’s not been such a horrific sh*tshow after all.

H/T and image: The Guardian

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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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