A lonely 75-year-old fisherman's ad for a fishing buddy has gone viral, and he received replies from hundreds who offered to go fishing with him.
After the death of his wife, who was also his fishing mate, Ray Johnstone said that "it gets a bit lonely just sitting around watching TV a lot of the time," according to Australia's Yahoo7 News. Johnstone, from Lewiston, South Australia, posted an ad to classified ad site Gumtree, seeking a fishing companion.
"My name is Ray Johnstone. Australian. I'm a widowed pensioner who is looking for a fishing mate. My previous mate is now deceased," read Johnstone's ad, which listed his condition as "used."
"What I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with," the ad continued. "I am willing to share all costs e.g. petrol bait and should you happen to own a boat willing to pay all ramp fees but happy if you are also a land based fisherman."
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Johnstone, who has 12 grandchildren, was surprised to receive so many responses to his ad. Commenters and social media users and felt compelled to help Johnstone.
"When I started getting a few phone calls I thought it was because of my age, but they it kept going, and going and going," said the retiree. The ad has reportedly been viewed more than 11,000 times.
One Australian fishing enthusiast even started a campaign to raise $1,000 to fly Johnstone to Sydney for a weekend to go fishing with friends, The Telegraph reports. Users on Twitter started a hashtag, "#IllFishWithRay."
Johnstone says that his search ended successfully, and that he has a new fishing partner.
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"I have found a fishing partner. Gumtree called me and said the ad went viral," said Johnstone.
Pamela Joy Edwards, Johnstone's daughter, posted to Facebook thanking all those who offered to help her father.
"He has been so lonely since Mum passed away years ago, and four walls are not that exciting," Edwards said. "Even though he has us and my boys to go fishing ... it is not the same as having a real friend/mate."