A 90-year-old British man who has the same pub food every day was surprised to hear his daily visits had gone viral and strangers had left a 700-pound (approx. US$990) bar tab to keep him going for months.
Pete, an old-age pensioner, lives alone and goes to the Moulsham Inn in Chelmsford, Essex, nearly every day to order the same meal—Hunter’s chicken with a glass of red wine.
Pub landlord Tim Mepham, 39, who has grown close to Pete, decided to post a video of his friend on TikTok. Much to his surprise, the clip posted on May 24 racked up hundreds of thousands of views, and commenters asked how they could fund Pete’s meal.
Tim posted Pete’s table number, and hundreds of orders for his food and drink came flooding in through the app, giving him a bar tab of over 700 pounds.
Another heart-warming video shows Tim telling Pete that strangers have bought him 90 glasses of wine—a drink every day for three months—and weeks of lunches.
“Pete is genuinely one of the most polite gentlemen I’ve ever met,” Tim said.
“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 humor 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.”
Tim has known Pete since he started working as a manager at the Moulsham Inn in Chelmsford three years ago. He described him as “the perfect grandad that everyone loves.”
“He has stories for all ages,” Tim said. “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.
Tim said: “Pete comes in pretty much every day.
“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 eleven 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.”
Talking about the response to the videos, Tim said: “So many people commented about if and how they could buy this lovely man a drink, so I posted a video on how you could, via the order and pay app.
“That day the ticket machine didn’t stop and Pete had 120 glasses of wine bought for him and enough hunters chicken to last him months.”
The next day, Tim told Pete the good news. He filmed his awe-struck reaction, and the clip got 1.6 million views in just the first day.
“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 said.
“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.”
Inspired by Pete, Tim, known online as “The Pub Man,” is now setting up a “Meet and Greet Lunchtime” at his establishment, where lonely people can come together to socialize.
Epoch Times staff contributed to this report.