Those leafing through The Herald Express are kept abreast of the local goings on in the Torbay area of the United Kingdom. It’s filled with news stories, advertisements, and classifieds.
But in an edition that ran in November of 2016, small business owners in the seaside town of Paignton were presented with a unique opportunity.
An elderly gentleman, 89 years old, was looking for a job. The retired senior citizen was looking to busy his hands with work.
His bright yellow ad caught the eye, surprised readers, and delighted with a playful plea at its conclusion.
Joe Bartley, 89, placed an ad in the UK newspaper The Herald Express in November of 2016. He was looking for a part-time job.
Bartley served in the military as a young man and was looking for something new in his life. His personal ad lists a few chores he’d still be capable of performing and concludes with a playful plea for help.
“Save me from dying of boredom!”
Bartley told CBS that there is a “community area” in his building, “but not a soul comes in.”
Bartley starting getting calls in regards to his ad immediately. He went on an interview at The Cantina Kitchen & Bar and was hired on the spot.
Bartley interviewed with a cafe near his home and was hired on the spot. He clears tables, delivers food, and helps out where needed.
Kate Allen, co-owner and operator of the cafe, knew she wanted to snatch Bartley up the minute she met him.
“How often do you get an 89-year-old person approaching you and saying ‘I want to work’?” Allen said to ODN News. “But he’s keen, and we just couldn’t say no. How could we?”
Allen’s wife passed away in 2014, and he told the BBC that he was “bored to death”. He equated living alone as living in “solitary confinement”.
The decision the cafe made to hire Bartley was met with resounding applause. Literally. Patrons led a round of applause when he walked in for his first day of work.
“He’s lovely, a breath of fresh air. He’s just upbeat and jolly and wanting to work,” cafe co-owner Barry George told iNews.
Bartley is an inspiration for countless senior citizens. Many are bored, just as he was, but feel helpless in doing anything about it.
The patrons of the cafe have nothing but good things to say about the pensioner who chose to rejoin the workforce.
“I admire him very much. And I wish I had the courage to do the same,” one customer told ODN News.
“I think it’s brilliant. I think there are so many people like him, who are lonely, and this is a lovely cafe for him to come work in,” another told ODN.
Bartley quickly became part of the cafe family, until forced to take early retirement.
Bartley got stuck in to the work straight away, clearing tables, helping in the kitchen, and serving customers.
“He’s peeled me spuds, chopped me chips, washed up, done laundry—everything and anything,” George said.
But then, a few months later, ill health got in the way of his new career. Following an operation, the doctor told him Bartley wasn’t allowed to work anymore.
“Joe has taken his final retirement, I’m afraid, under doctor’s orders,” said George.
Bartley’s colleagues were devastated by the news, but vowed to make sure he didn’t go back to a life of boredom.
“We’re going to keep him out and about and meeting people,” said George.
They also gave him a special “gold member” card, which means he can eat and drink at the Cantina for free for the rest of his life.
“He’s always going to be welcome here—he’s one of the family,” George told iNews.