Lonely Pensioner Who Put Up Posters Appealing For Friends 'Overwhelmed' By Response
A lonely pensioner who put up posters appealing for someone to talk to has been 'overwhelmed' by thousands of people responding. You can watch him discussing the tragic predicament he was in here:
Tony Williams, from Alton, East Hampshire, UK, lost his wife and 'soul mate' Jo in May - her death coming just nine days after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
In the months since, the unremitting silence has been 'unbearable torture' for the 75-year-old retired physicist, who attempted to make friends by sharing an advert in the local paper and handing out business cards.
After getting no replies, Tony's last resort was to stick a poster in his window, pleading for someone to talk to. But after an excruciating summer 'sat in the house in silence, just waiting for the phone to ring', Tony is now struggling to get a moment's peace.
His heartbreaking story made headlines earlier this week, striking a chord with readers across the globe. In the couple of days since, Tony estimates he has shared between 50 and 70 phone calls with total strangers, while his inbox has 'exploded' with thousands of emails.
Speaking to LADbible, Tony said: "I just regret so much that it's impossible for me to answer even a small fraction [of calls and emails], but I'd like them to know that I've received so many messages of goodwill and kindness and compassion that I'm overwhelmed by it.
"If I could meet them all in Albert Hall I would tell them how much I care for them and how much I'd like to reach out to them as they reached out to me.
"The love and the kindness and the compassion they've shown actually brought tears to my eyes."
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Among the countless kindhearted strangers to have reached out, there are a few which Tony found especially touching.
He said: "I got an email yesterday [Tuesday] from a teacher in a local school. She said would I mind if the children in her class wrote me letters. And I thought that was so lovely, and I got in touch with her straight away and said it would be delightful. I would love that.
"I've had people phoning up from America, Canada. One lady phoned up and said if I get on a plane sometime she would pick me up and show me her area of Florida. I don't think I'll be doing it, but she was really genuine."
Despite all the hardships Tony has faced, even in his darkest hour - overcome with indescribable loneliness and grief - he never lost faith in humanity; now, his faith has been repaid more handsomely than he ever could have imagined.
Tony said: "I was determined... I was determined. I thought there's got to be a way around this - and eventually, there was.
"For a long, long time, for weeks and weeks and weeks, it looked as if I was pushing doors open and they were immediately slammed in my face. I had that feeling. And then I was isolated and almost totally abandoned. And I thought, I've got to do something about that.
"A lot of people disagreed with what I've done, but I feel totally vindicated now. I've sort of caught a vein of something in humanity that I hoped was always there."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS