A Little Bit at a Time

Last night, The Boyfriend and I headed down to The Local after dinner. We had missed the place for the last week or two. We had been avoiding the place, along with many others, in a kind of protest about one of the staff  members who’d gotten a bit snappy with a local and punched him in the nose. Sure, the local in question was being a tool at the time, and should possibly have been sent home, but there was no need for violence. Money talks, and after a week or two of dwindling patrons, the staff member in question no longer works there. Funny, that.

A pair of slightly scruffy looking characters wandered in, and asked the bartender if the hotel had accommodation. I happened to be standing nearby at the time, and tried to help. The two guys were looking for cheap pub style accommodation, but most of the nearby pubs have stopped providing this service over the last few years. The Boyfriend and I were trying to give advice to where the cheapest places would be, we made a few phone calls for them to check availability, that sort of thing. They just seemed like nice, good people, and we hated the thought of anyone (and by the look of them they were pretty hard up) struggling to find a place to sleep that they could afford. After chatting for a while, I asked them what brought them to the area. They had travelled up from country Victoria to buy a car that they’d found online. Why did they need a car? Theirs were burned. In the bushfires.

Yep, these two fellas turned out to be from a small country town that had been totally devastated by the recent bushfires. From their town, only 6 houses remained standing – and none of the saved houses belonged to the young guy or his dad. The older man showed me some photos – it was heartbreaking hearing him say “this is my house burning down, this is when I got surrounded by flames and thought I was going to die, this is the remains of my tools – which were uninsured, this is the melted car which I had bought the day before and not insured yet” – it just went on and on. Both guys now have no jobs because the businesses they worked for have burned down. Both said they have yet to see a penny of the grant money the government promised them, and the reason why they looked scruffy was because they were wearing donated clothes. One of them barely escaped on a dirt bike, just outrunning the flames. He’d been trying to help his boss save the trout farm he worked at, unsuccessfully. His boss only survived by jumping in a trout pond. It was 20m deep and still it bubbled and boiled from the heat.

Soon enough we wished them luck, and they headed out towards the cheapest accommodation we had been able to find for them. The Boyfriend’s best mate was nearby, and I told him the dreaful story we’d just heard. He was up like a shot and ran after them. He offered them all he had to offer – free accommodation in his spare room that night, which they gratefully accepted and came back inside. As their story worked its way around the pub, they also found they had shout after shout being pushed into their hands. Each person only gave a little bit – but I like to think it made all the difference. As they left with The Boyfriend’s mate for a well earned rest, the young guy turned to his dad and said, “Wow. We picked the best pub to walk into and ask for directions tonight”. I like to think that they did, too.

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9 Responses to “A Little Bit at a Time”

  1. WT Says:

    Good on yer.

  2. Jennifer Says:

    You have me all sniffly.

  3. Shelby Says:

    awwwwwww

  4. mark Says:

    Great story.

  5. EGE Says:

    Poor buggers. But you sure are a nice bunch of folks.

  6. Frank Says:

    That is one of the most heartwarming stories I’ve ever heard…you Aussies are alright.

  7. travelling, but not in love Says:

    lovely. too lovely.

  8. Pamela Says:

    I’m teary eyed with Jennifer

  9. 12ontheinside Says:

    I was pretty teary at the time too. It made me feel prett lucky.

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