Winning the ‘good neighbour’ lottery

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.

I have the best neighbour in the world.

By way of background, my neighbour is called Ted.

He lives alone in a house that leaks in winter.

He has a full-time job looking after not only his property and gardens, but also mine.

Since I moved in a couple of years ago, Ted has regularly kept my lawn neat and trim. He even does the edges and prunes my unruly trees.

Not once has Ted accepted payment of any kind.

I have offered time and time again, but no deal.

He doesn’t drink, so a carton of beer is out of the question.

There is no way he will take my money.

So I buy him a Lotto ticket every week.

There’s not much unusual about this.

At least, there wasn’t, until he started winning.

It started with small sums at first.

He’d win $16 and pop over with $8 for me.

Of course I objected and tried to get him to keep the money, but he never would,

I’d tell my friends about this generous bloke, and some would say the true test will come when he wins big.

Let’s see if he goes halves then, they said.

Well, that day came on the weekend, with Ted winning his biggest sum yet.

It wasn’t enough to break the bank, but it was substantial for a pensioner who goes without luxuries.

Can you guess what he did?

He bundled up exactly half of his winnings and caught me as I arrived home from work.

I’ve never seen him look so excited and happy.

“We won big!” he said.

I begged him to keep the whole lot. The whole point of buying him Lotto is so he has a chance at financial remuneration for his help around my place.

He wouldn’t have it.

Rules are rules, apparently, and when someone buys you a Lotto ticket, you go halves in whatever you win.

Even if you win five bucks; even if you win a thousand.

That’s how Ted lives his life.

And that’s how I know he’s one in a million.

I’m a lucky lady.

- Kate Hedley