Lonely widower reels in new fishing friends after classified ad goes viral

Photo from <a href="http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-view-details.html?adId=1136347047" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Ray Johnstone/Gumtree;elm:context_link;itc:0" class="link ">Ray Johnstone/Gumtree</a>

When it comes to finding a soulmate or making new friends, sometimes it’s difficult to truly put yourself out there.

But when Ray Johnstone, a 75-year-old Australian man, lost his wife due to her death, he decided to write a brutally honest classified advertisement that he posted online to attract a companion.

“I’m a widowed pensioner who is looking for a fishing mate. My previous fishing mate is now deceased,” he said in a post on the Gumtree website. “What I want is a fishing mate in a similar position to myself who also wants someone to go fishing with. I am willing to share all costs, e.g. petrol, bait.”

Since going up on Jan. 19, the ad went viral with many sharing the post on social media saying they’d fish with the widower. It even spawned its own hashtag: #IllFishWithRay. Local news station 7 News Adelaide also racked up more than a million views on Facebook by sharing Johnstone’s story.

After all the media hype, the lonely widower finally got his fishing buddy, and then some.

According to 7 News, brothers Peter and Mati Batsinilas, who are both much younger than Johnstone, responded to the ad and took the elderly man and his grandson to his favourite fishing spot in an all-expenses paid trip.

Outdoor sporting equipment shop BCF also pitched in to sponsor Johnstone and gave him hundreds of dollars worth of new fishing gear.

However, with all of the attention, Johnstone has suggested to 7 News that he’s getting tired of it.

“[My phone] keeps ringing, but hopefully it stops soon,” he said.