Ellen Botwin’s parents have lived in the same Westport house since the 1970s. Her father turned 100 in June. Her mother is “21-plus.”
The other morning, Ellen’s mother called. Water was coming from upstairs, through the chandelier in the foyer.
Her dad had a stroke in 2018, and uses a walker. But his brilliant mind — he was senior vice president at Norden-United Technologies, and holds over 20 patents — still works.
He knew where the water came from, and tried to fix it. His wife worried he’d hurt himself, and called Ellen.
She lives an hour away, and does not know any Westport plumbers. In a panic she texted Rebecca, her parents’ next door neighbor. She gave Ellen the number for Pat Duffy.
Five minutes after Ellen’s message, Pat replied. She told him the problem. Immediately, he headed over.
An hour later, Pat texted back. The problem was fixed.
Ellen asked for the bill, and how he waned to be paid.
He said that his favorite uncle was named Leo — the same name as Ellen’s dad.
“I grew up with guys like him,” Pat noted. “It was nothing but a pleasure working for him. There is no charge. Happy 100th birthday, from Duffy Plumbing!”
Stunned, Ellen sent back her thanks. As they continued texting, she learned that it’s a third generation business. Pat’s father and son are plumbers too.
“My parents have no one really in Westport anymore,” Ellen says. “It’s hard to have friends when you’re 100 — they’re all gone.”
“Pat talked to my dad the entire time he was there. Then he wrote me the most amazing, nicest things about my dad. He showed such amazing respect.”
Pat repaid the compliment. And, he added, “The best part is, I get to sleep tonight knowing I did a good thing.”
For sure. And here’s to another good night’s sleep tonight: You’re “06880”‘s Unsung Hero of the Week!
PS: After Ellen posted about Pat Duffy Facebook, his son Hunter wrote: “My dad wants to thank everyone for their kind words. But he came home yesterday and couldn’t stop talkin about how your father is such a cool guy, and how much he loved talking to him.”
(If you know an Unsung Hero, email firstname.lastname@example.org)
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