A widower who lost his beloved wife felt cursed by his loneliness, which led him to put a sign on his window begging for "normal" people to chat with – inside Tony Williams' story.
Tony Williams, who worked as a physicist, lost his wife, Jo, in May 2020 after she battled pancreatic cancer. Since then, the lonely pensioner has lived alone in their home without kids, relatives, or friends nearby.
This loneliness bothered Tony, who was 75 years old at the time. So he opted for new ways to find company. Eventually, the widower got multiple offers from people he barely knew.
Tony and Jo Williams in a warm embrace [left] Tony and the poster he put on his window [right]. | Photo: twitter.com/nypost | twitter.com/MailOnline
HOW TONY MET HIS WIFE
Tony and Jo first crossed paths at a bar a few decades ago. The latter worked as a legal secretary, and their marriage was a perfect romance out of a fairytale novel.
They remained in Kempley, Gloucestershire, for nearly three decades before relocating to Alton, East Hampshire, where Jo's sister resides.
TONY AND JO'S RELATIONSHIP
The pair were inseparable. They did everything together, from beach dates to spending quality time in their orchard garden, to cooking, and listening to songs, without the intrusion of kids, as they had no children.
Tony and his wife Jo Williams in a warm embrace | Photo : Youtube.com/11Alive
While speaking to reporters, the man admitted: "Jo was my best friend, and we had a lovely life. But now I'm all by myself. My wonderful wife has just died, and I have nobody."
These two had a genuine and binding relationship. They were indeed soulmates and did not keep secrets from each other. Days after Jo's demise, her husband kept staring at her photograph while reminiscing about their good times.
Tony and his wife Jo Williams | Photo: Youtube.com/11Alive
FEELING "CURSED" WITH LONELINESS
After Jo's death, her husband was plagued with loneliness. This made him feel as if he was "cursed" with the situation as nobody phoned him, let alone stopped by for a chat.
Tony maintained that he pursued a cure by updating two adverts in the local newspaper. Even though it cost about 163 dollars (£120), it did not seem like a bother to the pensioner who struggled with finding new friends.
Sadly, Tony got the memo that not many read the newspapers in the computer age. So he opted for business cards customized to meet friends that would listen to music with him or sit by the garden.
Tony Williams responding to calls from friends | Photo : Youtube.com/11Alive
He dispensed these cards during his trips to the grocery store or whenever the widower stepped out for a walk. Still, no one contacted him for friendship.
A SIGN THAT HELPED
Despite the failed attempts at capturing buddies, Tony persisted. He stuck a wide poster on his window, with a sign that read:
"I have lost Jo. My lovely wife and soulmate. I have no friends or family. No one to talk to. I find the unremitting silence 24 hours a day unbearable torture. Can no one help me?"
Tony Williams and the postcards he got | Photo : Youtube.com/11Alive
According to Tony, very few people pass by his home, but he hoped that the word would spread and attract a friend. He was done with the silence and did not mind if anyone called him for a simple chat. Although his neighbors offered help, the man insisted on finding friends his age, and he refused it.
Eventually, Tony began receiving calls, letters, and emails from countries worldwide, including Spain, Australia, Iceland, Canada, the US, and the Middle East.
The volume of the messages and empathy from these friendly strangers felt overwhelming for the widower who confessed that he was consumed with emotions after reading them.
Tony Williams and the poster he stuck in the window seeking for friends | Photo : Youtube.com/11Alive
A TV personality, Dame Esther Rantzen, reached out to Tony. She runs the Silver Line charity that provides phone lines for lonely older folks working daily.
This story mirrors that of Wanda Mills, who lived in Park Hills, Missouri. In 2017, she wrote a letter to her neighbor, asking to be friends. Her neighbor, Marleen Brooks, obliged most sweetly, and the two established a lovely bond.
Stories like Tony's and Mills' are heart-melting and help restore a little faith in humanity. Hopefully, cases like this continue to happen.