A wish to reconnect with a woman who he met ever-so-briefly has turned into a media extravaganza beyond belief for a Salmon Arm dentist.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I intend nor thought that this would garner such attention,” Sandy Crocker told the Observer in an email Friday.
Crocker, 34, who has a clinic in Kelowna but travels to Acorn Dental in Salmon Arm once a month to do intravenous sedation for extractions, is amazed. His quest to find the woman he spoke with for about two minutes while on holiday in Ireland last year has been picked up by media throughout Ireland and Canada.
“Initially it was to be a very, very passive search,” he writes. “I was dreaming that possibly I may have a second chance encounter with this girl somewhere in Ireland. I spoke briefly with a local paper who thought it would be a nice community interest piece. However, timing is everything. When I arrived, unknown to me, there had just that day been an accident which claimed the lives of a well-known and respected family, the ecomony is down, tons of negative news daily. People were ready to turn the page and read something nice. So when my story was published in a community paper, people took to its sincerity. Within 48 hours every radio station in the country and some TV shows and all the national papers had a feature. It was overwhelming…”
Even Irish bookmakers are taking bets on whether Crocker will marry the woman or if she’s already married.
Crocker told the Irish Sun newspaper that he was eating lunch with his brother in Ennistymon, County Clare on July 9, 2011 when he met the woman – in her mid to late 20s with freckles and reddish-brown hair.
“We were on our way to the Cliffs of Moher that morning and we stopped in Ennistymon to grab a bite to eat,” he is quoted. “She was eating and I didn’t want to interrupt her meal so I waited until I noticed that she was leaving and I spoke to her then. I asked her for directions to the cliffs. I was leaving Ireland a day later so, at first, I didn’t see the point in pursuing things more – but after she left I decided that I had to. We paid our bill quickly and myself and my brother started looking for her.”
Although they searched the town and cliffs, they could find no trace of her.
Back in Canada, he continued to think of her. A few weeks ago he decided to go back.
He is quoted: “I went back to work and my life – but there was always a joke here or there from my brother about the Irish girl in Ennistymon. She never left my mind, so I decided why not go back and try to find her? Maybe it’s a shot in the dark but if it is meant to be, if it’s fate, then I might bump into her walking down the street or in a shop somewhere. Who knows what might happen?”
However, he told the Sun, he’s prepared if she’s married.
“If I meet her again and it turns out she is married to a nice fella – the kind of guy who gives her a hug if she is crying before he asks her what’s wrong – then I don’t think I would have a problem with that. But who knows, maybe she hasn’t found her person – it’s a 50/50 chance. At least I can say I gave it my best shot no matter what way this turns out.”
He told the Observer in his email that there have been some leads, “but as I say this is a somewhat passive search…” He said his goal was to get the message out and if she would like to contact him, she can.
“Otherwise I am continuing my travels and will let fate take its course.”
Asked what attracted him to this mystery woman, he told the Observer: “The depth in her quality and character – something in my vague description of the girl is truly reflected in what other Irish men see in their wives and girlfriends, which is why they can relate and how this story has become so popular over here.”
Back at home, Crocker’s friends and co-workers at Acorn Dental are adding their support.
“He is the nicest man. We love Sandy, and we always joke about finding him a girlfriend, finding him a wife,” says Andrea Pyle, business manager. “And it’s so weird this has happened. We always joke we will find him a Salmon Arm girl or wife.”
She says she had no idea about his quest until she received a call in the middle of the night from a radio station in Ireland.
“We knew he was going to Ireland, but we didn’t know what he was going for. He travels quite a bit. We got a call in the middle of the night from Irish National Radio. I had to listen to it quite a few times to understand it.”
And now, Crocker has a whole group of cheerleaders at Acorn Dental.
“Those kind of encounters, when you have that kind of connection, are pretty amazing,” says Pyle. “We think nothing but the best of him. It would be wonderful if he found that.”