TWO FRIENDS AND A £7 MILLION FORTUNE
Robert Louis Stevenson was quoted as saying, “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.”
Willie Sibbald and Rab Layden, both from Edinburgh, have been colleagues and the best of mates for a long time. They have both been working at a local construction company as designers and painters for the last 17 years. They have been ordinary working class people most of their lives. The two friends share a hometown, the same job, and are both avid followers of the Scottish national football team. They also share a pint or two, as friends do, from time to time. They are blessed in having in each other a true friend.
Friends also share dreams, and these two dreamt of the day they can retire in comfort. To give themselves a shot at their dream, they invested in two tickets for the lottery each week for years. Their investment in lottery tickets came with a pledge that if one of them ever won, they would “see each other right.” Both Sibbald and Layden were aware of the odds against ever hitting the jackpot, but then people do win them. So they kept working and playing the lottery every week.
While they were striving to scoop great fortunes, having a true friend by each other’s side made them richer than they realized.
The Improbable Happens
Even with the long odds, somebody will win that jackpot – almost all lottery players just never think that it would ever happen to them. And it was a lucky dip ticket for the UK Lotto, bought from the newsagent’s in Moredun Park Road, Moredun which finally gave Sibbald the win he and his friend had been dreaming about.
After missing the live coverage of the draw, Sibbald saw the winning numbers flashed on the TV screen, and realized he had hit the jackpot. He told his aunt, took steps to protect the valuable ticket from damage, from his aunt’s dog mainly, and then spent a sleepless night waiting for the chance to get it verified.
By Sunday morning he had told his brother, who thought it was all just a joke. But £7,084,472 is not something to joke about. Only Layden has not been told of the win yet.
Sharing Was Never In Doubt
Ernest Hemingway once said “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
In the case of the two friends, the win was a great blessing; Sibbald made it clear he will share his winnings with Layden. He knows with absolute certainty that if it had been Layden who won, he would have received a share as well.
Other people could have been tempted to keep the money for themselves; a verbal pact that whoever wins would share with the other is hard to prove in court. But Sibbald and Layden’s pact was as solid as their friendship.
Layden was at work painting a kitchen when he received a call from Sibbald at 1:45pm. They agreed to meet up at the company’s yard. They went to tell the bosses at the company at 2:40pm and were both retired five minutes later. And then the pair went to have a few drinks.
Both of them knew without a doubt that so long as they were not too extravagant they need not work again ever. Their friendship and pact had passed the test with flying colors.
What Lies Ahead
Sibald and Layden now look forward to seeing the Scottish national football team on their away games. They now both expect to live their sunset years in comfort and style. Sibbald plans to take driving lessons, after which he looks forward to buying a Rolls Royce.
More than the money, more than the creature comforts they can now afford to buy – these two friends inspire us through the beauty of their friendship and the trust that bind them together. The world will be a better place if we had more Willie Sibbalds and Rab Laydens.