Friday, 8 May 2009

Saved by The Bookie.

by JohnofGwent

I don't know whether to laugh at the depths to which the people who run our gambling dens will go to keep their customers, or cry at the degree to which people are left to die and rot in their own homes by uncaring neighbours.

So I'll just tell the story and let you make your own mind up.

Over lunch I picked up a copy of the South Wales Argus to see how desperate our local politicians had got at chivvying up support - or failing to do so. But the story on page four is what I wish to talk about. It concerns an elderly gentlemen, a regular caller at the Ladbrokes Betting Shop in Cambrian Road Newport, and a teenage staff member not yet so jaded as to view the punters as the meal ticket they actually are.

The elderly chap had not been seen for a week despite being a regular daily customer who from the tale in the paper seemed to be a regular for the opportunity for company that it gave rather than to make a killing. In the end the teenager became so concerned he used the details held by the branch to find the guy's home address, went round there and through the window found him lying face down on the floor covered in blood.

Amazingly this kid's 999 call drew a swift response from the local plod (he doesn't live round my bit of Newport then) and to the surprise of the officers who broke into the house they found not the corpse they were expecting but a bloke still clinging to life. It seems the headache and numbness he had told this teenager about on his last visit to the betting shop was the start of a stroke that left him helpless on the floor of his house for six days.

A lucky man indeed.

But what a country we live in when the only person who cares about you is the bloke you lose money to every day.

And he must have been a big loser. I was called out to look at the software that works all the tills in ladbrokes nationwide after a disaster was found just before the last world cup, I know how bookmakers "rate" their customers in terms of howmuch they lose or win, and I know if he was a persistent winner he would not have been missed, by official decree.