A photo of an elderly gentleman sitting alone in a Galway pub has quickly gone viral since being posted online. Widely shared across social media, the heartbreaking image shows the customer seated in a small snug with an alarm clock on the table to keep time. Worried that he would overstay his 90-minute timeslot, the photo has drawn attention to the importance of the social aspect of the pub experience - also highlighting the impact that a short chat with bar staff can have.
Reacting to the viral photo, Dublin chef Gaz Smith tweeted to say that the image made him realise the value of good bar staff and hospitality workers.
'That photo of a solo gent yesterday also makes you realise just how important a good barperson is.
A good barperson isn't just about milling out pints at midnight.
They are often the only interaction folks might have of a rainy Monday afternoon quietly sipping slowly on a pint..'
He later mused that 'the pint is very often irrelevant', adding that it's more about 'the feeling of being welcomed as you walk in, the natural chitchat, even the goodbye'. 'Ireland has the best bar staff in the world, by a mile, the best genuine hospitality, by a mile & they should be made feel very welcome when they are back', he said.
I don’t know the backstory of that particular gent yesterday, maybe he was happy out, maybe he was desperate for a chat after months at home. It just made me realise how Important our front line hospitality faces are
— Gaz (@MichaelsCoDub) September 8, 2020
People have been moved since seeing the poignant photo, which acts as a stark reminder that, for many, pubs are about far more than just having a few pints.