A Kelowna dentist has embarked on a quixotic quest to find – and marry – a young Irish woman he bumped into at a café while on vacation last year.
In July 2011, Sandy Crocker, 34, was eating breakfast in the Irish tourist town of Ennistymon with his brother when he noticed a “striking” lady at a neighbouring table.
He waited until she had finished her meal to strike up a conversation, but only long enough to chat about the weather and ask directions to a local landmark.
“She never left my mind, so I decided, ‘Why not go back and try to find her?'” he told the Irish Sun this week.
“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.”
Crocker started his search this month in rural County Clare, where Ennistymon is located. Soon, he plans to move on to Cork and Belfast. His elusive love interest is described as an Irish woman in her mid-20s with freckles and reddish-brown hair.
On Wednesday, U.K. bookmaker Ladbrokes, Ireland, assigned 50-1 odds on Cocker marrying the mystery lady, giving it a four-fifths chance that she is already married.
“It’s definitely a long shot travelling 8,000 kilometres to woo an anonymous Irish girl with red hair and freckles, but there’s a good chance Sandy could steal another Irish lady’s heart during his visit, so we’re offering 10-1 that he meets his future wife here,” said Ladbrokes spokes-woman Hayley O’Connor.
It is a bit “old-fashioned” to assume that a twenty something Irish woman would be single and ready to marry, wrote a young County Clare woman in an email to the Post, asking that her name be withheld.
She also noted that Crocker’s description is a bit vague. “If [he] had said red then that would have narrowed down the population. Reddish-brown? Not so much!”
The unusual story has received wide play in Irish radio and news-papers.
“I think everybody’s quite shocked by it,” said Ciara Cummins, an account executive with Ladbrokes, noting that the occasional commenter has described Crocker as a “stalker.”
In the opinion of Don Dutton, a domestic violence researcher at the University of B.C., “He’s not technically a stalker unless she wants no part of him – obsessive to be sure.”
Originally from Prince Edward Island, Crocker graduated from Dalhousie University in 2005 and has practised dentistry in Cuba, Costa Rica and in aboriginal communities of Canada’s North. He currently works at Creekside Dental Clinic in Kelowna, where he also plays for the Kelowna Crows rugby team.
Staff at the clinic confirmed Wednesday that Crocker was on vacation to Ireland.