NewsThe importance of saying "Thanks"
19 Apr, 2023
Guide Dog owner Tom O'Neill explained to us about the longstanding impact of saying "Thanks".
At the end of the summer last year, myself, and my Guide Dog Qeb visited a pub called “One for the road” in Ballycanew, Gorey, Co. Wexford. So why go all the way to Gorey from my home in Balbriggan, north county Dublin? Well, to say thanks to the proprietor of the pub, Alan Flood.
After I got my first Guide Dog Frank in 1985 people who had previously seen me using a white cane saw an enormous difference in me with my mobility. I was much more relaxed and much more confident on my daily journeys into the city for work in the Revenue Commissioners and at the weekends enjoying life with my then small children. Some of these people offered to do a fundraiser for IGDB and the Balbriggan\North County Dublin Branch was formed. We are now heading to our 35th anniversary. During those years, my Guide Dogs and I met many people who wanted to help with fundraising.
One such man was Mick Flood, a Cootehill, Co. Cavan man living in Kilternan, Co. Dublin. We met on my lunchtime break as I gave my Guide Dog a free run. One day I had an IGDB fundraising counter box in a bag because I was exchanging it with a full one I had placed in a Dublin city centre premises. Mick asked could he have one for his pub then called “The Golden Ball”, Kilternan, now known as Farmer Browns. Of course, I said yes and every so often with my Guide Dog I visited the pub and naturally had a drink with Mick but really why I was there was to say thanks to the owners of the pub and the customers for supporting the counter box. Importantly, introducing them to my different dogs over the years gave them the opportunity to see the difference their generosity made.
Sadly, Mick passed away a few years back with his family choosing to give donations to IGDB in leu of flowers at his funeral mass. The Flood family has continued to keep the IGDB connection with the counter box still in place in Farmer Browns.
Mick’s son Alan decided to go into the world of running a pub himself opening “One for the Road” in Ballycanew; the name coming from his dad’s words every night at closing time - “Let’s have one for the road”.
So, what a pleasure it was for me and Qeb to visit the pub and Alan at the end of August joined by five local friends. At the end of the night, we said to Alan and his customers “Thank you for supporting Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind through your counter box”. And yes, we had “One for the road”.
Qeb and I also recently visited Farmer Browns to do the same and were joined by Mick’s two daughters Rebecca and Marie, and Marie’s husband Andy. While in Gorey we visited East Coast Coffee to meet the fourth member of the Flood family Jenny who works there and had a beautiful lunch followed by a “one for the road” coffee to see us on our way back to Balbriggan\north county Dublin. It goes to show how a simple “Thank you” can have a longstanding impact and create a lifetime of friendship.
We all have moved towards using cashless payments but standard counter boxes are still a crucial part of our fundraising.
Special thanks to our team in our Balbriggan\North County Dublin Branch who look after our boxes in that area. Pictured is Tom with his Guide Dog Qeb saying thanks to two of our counter box holders; below is Damien in Bus Eireann Depot, Drogheda and above, Gerry at the Coffee Trailor at Skerries train station, Dublin.