86-year-old burst into tears finding out he can't go for coffee meet-ups

Reggie Purcell, 86, has been having coffee every Monday with his friend Tony Talotta, 49, for 15 years.

The pair originally became pals while Tony was working at a fruit shop in the Sydney suburb of Caringbah. They’d chat about football – Reggie is a Cronulla Sharks fan – and give each other betting tips.

The first time they ever made a bet together, they put $5 on, and won $500 in total, with teams Reggie picked.

Tony, who now owns Talotta’s Pizzeria in Kurnell, then asked Reggie if he’d like to go for coffee to discuss the sport, and the tradition began from there.

In the wake of coronavirus, however, Reggie is now in self-isolation, meaning Tony had to cancel their weekly coffees.

Reggie was understandably devastated, and burst into tears at the news, which prompted a Facebook post from Tony asking strangers for support for his friend.

‘Just now I had to cancel taking him out for coffee for his safety, because of the coronavirus, and he cried and that breaks my heart.

‘This is my good friend Reggie. He is a very special man,’ Tony, who is now based in Sydney’s Sutherland Shire wrote alongside photos of his buddy.

‘So please let’s give Reggie a like and a thumbs up to say we care for his safety.’

Hundreds of people came out to send their well wishes to Reggie, encouraging him to stay at home and stay safe.

Tony has also decided that he’ll drop a takeaway coffee off to octogenarian Reggie’s door each Monday so he still has something to look forward to.

Speaking to The Daily Mail’s FEMAIL, Tony spoke about when he convinced Reggie many years ago to join the Caringbah TAB tipping competition.

Reggie was down on his luck, but Tony says: ‘I went to the TAB, gave them $500 cash and told them to say Reggie won the tipping comp and won $500,’ he said.

‘God love him I have never seen someone smile so much.’

As well as their weekly coffees, the pair visit the Sydney Royal Easter Show together annually, and Tony took Reggie to see his Cronulla Sharks in the NRL final in 2016.

While they can’t be together in person, the support the friends have is clear. And they’ll still be playing their weekly lottery numbers together like they always do.

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