A pensioner was astonished to hear a group of strangers had left a bar tab of £700 to buy him weeks of pub lunches.
Pete, who is 90, lives alone and visits the same pub every day in Chelmsford, Essex to order exactly the same meal – Hunter’s chicken with a glass of red wine.
The donations flooded in after pub landlord Tim Mepham, 39, posted a video talking to Pete on TikTok.
Tim, who has run the Moulsham Inn for three years, said: ‘Pete is genuinely one of the most polite gentleman I’ve ever met.
‘He’s so thankful for what we do for him, the time he spends with us and with what’s happened recently, and his sense of humour is razor sharp.
‘People bought Pete drinks because they just thought he was a nice guy. He isn’t in need, or poor and people didn’t pity him, they just loved him.’
The original video posted online shows Pete talking about why he loves the pub so much.
‘If I don’t come here, I’m in a wooden box,’ he said.
When asked what he would do if he won £1 million, he replied: ‘I would love to buy this place – to me this is paradise, and that is no word of a lie.’
As the clip grew in popularity, TikTok users asked how they could fund Pete’s meal.
Tim posted Pete’s table number and hundreds of orders flooded in to the pub’s app, up to the value of more than £700.
This equates to 90 glasses of wine – a drink every day for three months – and weeks of lunches.
Tim filmed Pete’s astonished and thrilled reaction to the news of the donations, and posted it on TikTok.
The pensioner said: ‘I can’t believe you, I’m indebted to you, I love this place.’
Tim described Pete as ‘the perfect grandad that everyone loves’, explaining: ‘He has stories for all ages. He does impressions of cartoon characters that kids love. He can make you laugh and make cry in one story.’
After noticing he was a regular, he sat down and introduced himself and had a chat with him until his lunch arrived – which now happens most days.
‘Pete comes in pretty much every day,’ he said.
‘Quite often his son-in-law will have lunch with him as he works locally, but when Pete’s alone I will sit with him until his lunch arrives and if I’m not there, one of my team will.
‘Pete loves talking about his wife, who sadly passed away 11 years ago. He also talks in great detail about his time served during the war.
‘He also keeps me updated on the gardening work he does now it’s sunny again.’
Tim, who is known online as ‘The Pub Man’, has now decided to set up a ‘meet and greet lunchtime’ – inspired by Pete – where people can come together to socialise and meet new people.
‘Pete’s story isn’t unique, maybe the going viral part is, but there are so many people out there who are alone and lonely,’ Tim added.
‘Elderly, vulnerable and even teenagers. Loneliness can affect many people in many ways and after the year we’ve all had I think it’s so important to reach out to these people.
‘Pete’s story had truly proven the kindness of strangers.
‘Pete has asked people stop buying him food and drinks now as he believes there must be so many other people out there we could support.’
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