Lonely 85-Year-Old Man Gets Incredible Response to a Personal Ad Seeking a Friend at Christmas

Outpouring of love after 10 holidays alone

It's easy to get swept up in the consumerism of the holiday season, and just as easy to get swept up in the crushing cynicism and contempt for people that passes for opposition to that consumerism. When either of those things occur, it's nice to be reminded that people are sometimes decent to one another during this time of year.

Retired Irish pensioner James Gray has spent the last 10 Christmases by himself, much like almost half a million seniors annually if British charity Age U.K. has its numbers right. Tired of the solitude, Gray, 85, decided to put out a personal ad of sorts, asking for someone to come and have Christmas lunch with him.

Responses were slow until the Irish Post ran a story on Gray, and now he's getting responses from all over Britain, and even some from America. "It is so touching to me, after all these years alone, to see this response from people," Gray tells the Post in a follow-up to the original story. "I should have done this years ago."