88-Year-Old Widower Gets Stopped For Selfies Over 2,000 Times While On Solo Vacation
Mar 17, 2023 by apost team
An 88-year-old widower unexpectedly became a celebrity when he flew to Benidorm, a tourist destination in Spain, for his 21-day solo holiday. Derek Flynn from Wales was constantly stopped for selfies by both locals and tourists in the port town.
Flynn returned to Benidorm in early February 2023 to revisit the places he had gone to before with his wife, Maevis, who passed away in 2020. A concerned friend, Nigel Hobdey, wanted Flynn to have the time of his life in a place he really loved, even if he was going back alone.
The retired widower, who used to work as a shoe seller and has five adult children with Maevis, met Hobdey at a betting shop in the township of Denbighshire in mid-2022. Hobdey had also been to Benidorm and talked about his trip with his elderly friend, who expressed that he really wanted to return to the holiday spot.
So, Hobdey helped plan Flynn's trip back and even drove him to the airport. However, he also needed to be sure that someone would look after the old man, especially since Flynn does not own a smartphone.
A day before Flynn’s flight, Hobdey decided to reach out to the people of Benidorm by posting in a popular local Facebook group with over 160,000 followers. Hobdey wrote and explained that he only wanted Flynn to be OK on his own, so he asked folks in Benidorm to say hello to his friend if they saw him around. After posting, the thread blew up, and Hobdey received a lot of replies and private messages with their selfies with Flynn.
As soon as Flynn arrived in Benidorm, someone was already waiting for him at his hotel, and he had people coming up to him for selfies every day. He took over 2,000 selfies! Speaking with The Sun, Flynn said that he went along with the photo requests initially but then wondered how people knew about him.
“I can’t walk down the street without someone stopping me," Flynn said. "The ladies start screaming my name and ask me if I want a drink. They even said I look like Robert De Niro.”
People have been calling Flynn a "legend" and the "most famous person in Benidorm," and this further compounded his love for the tourist spot even more. Flynn lived in Australia for two decades and has been on trips "all around the world" but still considers Benidorm as "the best."
Hobdey wasn't expecting that his post would get such a reaction, and he was warned by other people that he should not have posted about Flynn because he's vulnerable. However, he told The Mirror that the Benidorm community actually looked out for his friend "all the time." They posted updates every time they saw the old man or if they walked him back to his hotel.
"And these hotels are like old people's homes, they look out for you," Hobdey said.
After 21 days, Flynn was supposed to return to the UK on Feb. 27, 2023, but he ended up missing his flight. According to Hobdey, his friend made it to the airport but did not get on the plane. Richard Witter, a Benidorm local, told Rhyl Journal that Flynn was OK among his over 200 new friends in town for another week, and he was back home in the UK on March 6, 2023.
Did this story restore your faith in humanity? How do you feel about a community welcoming an old widower and looking out for him? What can you say about Derek Flynn's newfound fame? If you know someone who can relate to this story, tell them all about it!