An Essex mechanic suffering from a life-threatening illness has miraculously found the money for his treatment, thanks to a philanthropic gambling machine in his local betting shop.
Wayne Bradley, a 23-year-old mechanic at Spanners Are Us in Braintree, was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia in 2012. Newly-imposed Government legislation means the NHS will only provide treatment for patients who are on Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA). Wayne needed £20,000 pounds for aggressive chemotherapy and a potential bone marrow transplant and although on sick leave from work, he couldn't be bothered to fundraise.
Salvation appeared when Wayne hobbled in to his local William Hill betting shop and popped a coin into a gambling machine called a fixed-odds betting terminal, or FOBT. "I only stuck in a pound for a spin on the roulette game to try to forget the pain I was in; I'd been happy to win a fiver," recalls Wayne. The electronic unit then did something that no software engineer has been able to explain. "As soon as the coin dropped in the screen went completely black and then a message suddenly flashed up in big letters. It said it was sorry that I had leukaemia and that I did not deserve to die so young. It wanted me to be happy and marry my girlfriend, who it considered tasty and well worth a poke."
Wayne then looked at the other customers in the shop, wondering if they were playing some sick joke. "No one looked at me; they were too busy betting on virtual pigeon racing. Then I heard the machine print a ticket and I quickly bent down and took it. It said 'Payout £20,000.' Then some more words flashed on the screen that I'll never forget. It said that everything will work out fine for me and Shazza and that I must go and get the treatment I need right away. There were three kisses and a heart at the bottom...it was bloody beautiful," says a welled up Wayne. He then staggered to the counter and presented the ticket to the cashier. "She was shocked that I'd won such a big amount. The maximum payout is meant to be £10,000 and a few customers had already won that much in the last month, but because I was a regular, she said she wouldn't check it with head office and then paid me the cash from the safe. It took about 30 minutes to count it and all and the other regulars were cheering and slapping me on the back. I ended up buying them all a Kit Kat and Coke. They may be jobless immigrants who can't speak British, but they're a great bunch."
Wayne is now undergoing treatment for his leukaemia at a private clinic in London and still cannot believe his luck, saying: "That machine really did care about me. Technology is taking over our lives and one day we'll have artificially intelligent robots to be our slaves, but they'll never mean as much to me as that FOBT - it saved my life."
A spokesman for William Hill issued the following statement: "I would like to congratulate Wayne on his massive win. He is a loyal customer and we are always pleased to give something back to those in need. However, I hope the empathy and largesse shown by this particular machine ends the snide and unhealthy innuendo by many, including politicians, that FOBTs are somehow not random and also damage our society."