22-Year Old Befriends 75-Year Old Widower in Search of Fishing Buddy

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A little more than a week ago, people all over the world were charmed and intrigued by the story of Ray Johnstone, a 75-year widower from Australia who posted an ad online looking for a new fishing buddy and received hundreds of responses.

Out of the hundreds of people who responded, Johnstone has found a new fishing buddy in someone most would consider an unlikely candidate, 22-year old Mati Batsinilas, who lives in Brisbane, nearly 1,000 miles from Johnstone’s home in Adelaide.

“I commented on Facebook news article just saying ‘Hey mate, you’ve probably found your fishing buddy and you probably don’t need me. But if you see this message I’m more than happy to take you on a trip to Queensland,'” explains Batsinilas.

The morning after posting that message, Batsinilas says he received roughly 200 messages from people imploring him to take Johnstone fishing, and so he did.

Batsinilas works as a carpenter, but his family owns a fishing business in Brisbane. He paid for Johnstone to fly to Brisbane for a two-day fishing trip.

On Tuesday, the two left at 5 in the morning and fished all morning on North Stradbroke Island, just off the coast of Brisbane. The two plan to camp on North Stradbroke Island Tuesday and continue fishing on Wednesday.

“The idea of this trip, it wasn’t just about fishing. It was about getting him up here to bring a smile on his face,” says Batsinilas.

In that sense, the trip appears to be a huge success. “It was a really good day,” Johnstone said of Tuesday’s fishing excursion with Batsinilas. “The highlight was being taken out fishing in the morning.”

Bastinilas, like many, says he was touched by Ray’s story and thought about what he would want if his own father or grandfather were in a similar position.

“I come from a family of four boys and we love fishing. We do it all the time,” he says. “If something was to happen to us and our old man was left on his own, that’s just awful. There’s no way I would want that to happen to my old mate or my grandfather.”

Batsinilas and Johnstone have already had plenty of success catching fish on their trip. A few pictures of the two, along with the fish they’ve caught, can be seen on Batsinilas’ Facebook page.