As my ex-girlfriend would no doubt agree, I have a strange habit of attracting weirdos.
Whether I’m on the train, in the supermarket or just walking down the street crazy people seem to be drawn to me like a magnet.
Last weekend I’m back in Luton. It’s Sunday and i’m in a pub sitting with my Dad and a friend of the family. A man walks over and asks to sit down.
The man, an old Glaswegian fella, looks harmless enough and settles down with a pint of Guinness.
While I’m looking at a pretty brunette in the corner playing the games machine, the man mistakenly thinks that I’m trying to make eye contact with him.
The white-haired man stands up and thrusts a hand in my direction. I take it and shake it.
“I have never met a black man,” he slurs.
I start to worry, he’s clerly drunk… and by the sound of it he’s probably a bit prejudice.
“I have never met a white man, or a green man or a yellow man,” he adds.
Okay, so he’s not racist, just a little drunk. I think about what he says. In it’s own way it’s profound – if a little cliched.
“I’m Francis O’Keefe – will you walk with me?” At that point I begin to have doubts about his sanity.
“I guess so,” I reply. I wish I could move seats because I want to laugh – and if you laugh at a wild-eyed drunk.
“I believe in two things,” Francis continues. “Love and care. Will you walk with me brother because If not you can just fuck off.”
I look over at my Dad and he’s laughing… I drink the rest of my drink swiftly signalling that I think it’s time to go.
As I get up to leave Francis stops me. And thrusts his hand out again…
As the pub door swings closed I have another quick look in at my new friend.
He’s ambling towards the games machine with his hand thrust out in front of him.