How a war veteran’s thirst for beer forged a great friendship

The story of a newfound friendship between a care home resident and one of its workers is warming hearts in Sweden after pictures of their outing to the local bar went viral.

How a war veteran's thirst for beer forged a great friendship
Age is no barrier when it comes to a cold beer in the sun. Photo: Kärsdala Vård-& Omsorgsboende

Alfred Luik, 93, lives in Kärsdala Care Home in Botkyrka, south of Stockholm. In an effort to keep its inhabitants as active and happy as possible, the home offers a range of activities including gymnastics and gardening, but when temperatures soared to 26 degrees in the Swedish capital last week, Luik only had one thing on his mind: to have a cold beer in the sun.

When worker Gavin Jesudasan asked Alfred which of the home’s activities he wanted to take part in for the day, the older of the two put his unique suggestion forward.

“I asked Alfred what he wanted to do for the day and he said ‘A cold beer would be good’,” Jesudasan told The Local. “I replied ‘Well maybe… but I need to speak with my boss’.”

Unsure if he would get the go-ahead but struck by how much Alfred wanted to get out in the sun, Jesudasan pushed for the outing. The response from his boss couldn't have been better.

“It was Alfred’s wish, a real wish. I could see that straight away,” he explained. “I thought ‘What can we give him? His wishes have to come first’. My boss said ‘OK, you can do it, but you have to have a light beer’.”

Alfred’s wish was granted, and after Gavin changed out of his work clothes the pair set off to a nearby bar. The experience wasn’t just a thrill for the older of the two, it also made a memory that will stay with his younger friend for the rest of his life.

“He was really happy. He recalled so many things about his old life,” Jesudasan noted. “I was so happy that I could experience that memory with him. I’ll never forget the day. It was a brilliant day for me and for Alfred.”

Alfred Luik. Photo: Kärsdala Vård-& Omsorgsboende

One of the biggest things that Gavin learned during their conversations was that Alfred is a war veteran. Originally from Estonia, he fought for Finland against Russia during World War Two, and the desire to relive some of the memories from his army days has inspired the next big goal on his list.

“We promised we would take him swimming next,” laughed Gavin. “Not in the lake though, he wants to swim in the real sea,” he added.

As for the possibility of more beer in the sun, Jesudasan said it could happen, but in any case he knows Alfred had experienced a genuinely special day. “At the end of our drink he said to me that he was so happy, that he never believed he would have a day like this again.”