I was on my way home to Castlebar one Saturday evening when I stopped into a shop in Sligo to do the Lottery. An almost-elderly man was getting directions from the young guy behind the counter.
“You go to the bottom of the road then turn left then… are you driving?” He was not driving. “You’re walking? It’s a terrible long way to walk.”
I asked them both where he was going. The man told me.
“I’ve walked down from the hospice," He said, "My old neighbour is up there, dying, and I got a lift in from Manorhamilton to visit him and all he is wishing for is one drink of Lucozade and I can’t find a drop in this blessed town.”
I glanced at my wrist. I was late for home. My children would be in bed before I got there, if I didn’t get a move on.
“Come on,” I said, “We’ll take a quick spin and find your friend some Lucozade.”
He looked at me a moment. I was unshaven and roughly-dressed. I could have been some kind of kidnapper. He decided to trust me. We drove around all the service stations. For some reason, there wasn’t much Lucozade to be had that night. Eventually we found a place down on the Bundoran Road. I waited in the car and was delighted to see him emerge with his Lucozade – a large bottle under each arm.
He wanted to walk back up to the hospice. He thought he had imposed enough on my time.
We chatted about the usual things on the way back. When we stopped at the gates, he slipped something onto my lap.
“I got you a scratch card,” he said, “for your kindness” Then he went off to deliver his Lucozade
After I had dropped him, I drove for a while then pulled in and scratched off the lottery card he had given me. There was a two Euro prize on it.
It was the best I ever did.