Jeff Ragsdale was one disconsolate dude. He was in New York, had survived a bitter breakup, and felt completely isolated in a city of eight million.
Some folks, feeling thus forlorn, might hide away in their flat and flip channels all day. Not Jeff. Last October, he put up fliers telling the world around him how lonely he was. He included a phone number. His real one. “If anyone wants to talk about anything, call me,” he wrote in his solicitation.
It worked. He received calls and texts – thousands of them. Many originated within New York City limits but they also came from far-flung places like Japan, Saudi Arabia, and that country of the far north called Canada.
One woman, describing herself as “incredibly lonely, too,” invited Jeff to go for a walk. A total stranger spontaneously told Jeff he’s “deeply loved.” Another kindhearted woman confessed she once went out with a stranger she met on Craigslist – simply because he had no one else with whom to celebrate his birthday.
Some people had advice: write gratitude lists, consider buying a co-op. Some wanted advice – a few were desperate. Every single person who contacted him had one thing in common: They wanted to make a connection. They wanted Jeff to feel surrounded by people who care. Perhaps it was their way of making the world that much less hostile.
My favourite comes from Jermaine, who sent Jeff a simple ten-word message: “I saw Adam Sandler in a supermarket. He looked sad.”
See, I think Jermaine is saying, you’re not suffering alone. Even superstars, even the funny ones, they all can feel empty and alone from time to time.
To date Jeff has received a staggering 65,000 calls and texts, and counting. He’s collected them into a book, freshly available on Amazon. Author Bret Easton Ellis calls it “a healing work of art.” (Ellis, if you don’t know, wrote American Psycho. I’m just saying.)
Check it out here. Or if you just want Jeff to know you’re thinking of him, give the no-longer-so-lonely guy a shout at 347-469-3173.