I have known him since 1988 and our friendship was founded on a common love of cricket.
I played for South Brisbane, he for Valley. He was a fast bowler, I was a top order batsman. We have many differences.
Over the years, he has moved steadily to the right of the political spectrum and has recently joined the Australian Conservative Party.
I enjoy winding him up about the ludicrous far right.
Today he bemoaned how poorly Donald Trump is represented in the media and how much his common sense and many achievements go unreported.
He considers Sky News to be truly balanced and everything else to be leftist ideology.
I do enjoy teasing him.
But the things you learn.
He went to the counter to order our coffees while I found a table outside.
After about 30 minutes, one of the staff came and handed him a $10.00 note. He told her that was payment for coffee and food and she said they left without ordering.
I enquired as to what that was all about. He was evasive and I asked again.
He explained that whenever he sees a police office, member of the armed forces, ambulance officer, firefighter or nurse in uniform ordering coffee etc, he quietly arranges to pay for it. He asks the staff member to keep his gesture confidential and for them to simply say “it has been paid for as a thank you for what you do”.
This morning, he noticed a nurse in the Café, caught the attention of a staff member and handed her the $10.00 as payment. The nurse, according to the Café staff left without ordering (apparently) and the $10.00 was returned.
I asked how long he has been doing this for and he said for the last 30 or so years.
We do take for granted the work our Police, Armed Forces, Ambulance, Firefighters and Medical people do for us. Sure, they are paid, but in reality, no payment is enough to compensate them for the situations they find themselves in.
His is a small but thoughtful gesture, and I am sure it makes the day for many recipients.
As for me, for once I resisted the temptation to tease him about the criticism of the recent phone call by President Trump to the Mother of the deceased US Marine.
I will leave that for another day.