This is Ray Johnstone. He’s a widowed Australian pensioner.
Last month, Ray posted an ad on Gumtree explaining that his previous fishing mate had died and he was looking for company on his trips.
The ad soon went viral and after an online campaign began to find the widower a friend, a 22-year-old Brisbane man decided to step in.
And Mati Batsinilas took the 75-year-old on the fishing trip of a lifetime.
According to Batsinilas, the two caught a large whiting on their trip, and Ray made a number of new friends.
The pair have even planned another trip together four-wheel-driving to catch beachworms on Wednesday.
Batsinilas told ABC: “I offered him a holiday away — and not just for fishing, but to get away and relax. I said from the beginning to Ray that we would get there and that I would commit to it and do it.”
Ray’s gumtree ad has gained 113,616 views since its original posting on January 19.
Appealing for a fishing enthusiast ‘in a similar position to myself,’ he wrote:
I am a land-based fisherman. I have all the gear for all types of fish that is required for land-based fishing.
I am willing to share all costs, e.g. petrol, bait, and should you happen to own a boat [am] willing to pay all ramp fees, but happy if you are also a land-based fisherman.
He rounded off the ad suggesting anyone who is interested could contact him to ‘arrange a meeting to see if we could get along with each other’.
Luckily, Ray the Lonely Fisherman’s story had a happy ending, and Batsinilas said it was ‘so good to see him smile’.
On Tuesday, the 22-year-old angler posted a photo of himself, Ray and his entire family and thanked the public for the ‘kind words’. He wrote: “I just want to thank everyone for their kind words and remind you all that this was a family effort, not just mine.”