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Stranger Invasion

Dear Aunt Bingo:
We had the craziest invasion of strangers at our local Bingo hall this week.
Ours is an urban church Bingo in an interesting area that is a mix of older neighborhoods on the back streets and trendy new shops, theaters, bars and restaurants on the main avenues.
Some office buildings and churches are still located on these avenues as well, but they are usually dark by the time evening comes and the trendy places get going.
One of the exceptions to this general rule is our Catholic church, which is used for many community events, including Bingo on Wednesday and Friday nights.
The church has its own large parking lot and entrances in the back, which is how most people come and go from church activities. It’s convenient because you can visit without having to elbow your way through the crowds of people on the avenues. And it’s amazing how, no matter how noisy it gets outside, you never hear anything when you’re in the community hall or meeting rooms.
This Friday, as people were arriving at the church for Bingo, a small tour shuttle could be seen parked in the road by the parking lot. We didn’t pay it much attention because buses and shuttles sometimes pass through the area.
But about 20 minutes before the games were to begin, the shuttle driver and a woman who I assume was one of his passengers came into the hall and asked for the Bingo coordinator. They had a brief conversation, then left. Right after that, the coordinator went to the caller’s microphone and made an announcement.
She said that a tour group had arrived at one of the avenue restaurants and that the restaurant had messed up and overbooked their dining room. They had arrived after another large group had been seated and had to wait a while for their tables. They asked if they could come in and play Bingo while they waited, and the manager had said yes.
Right after that, the group of about 25 well-dressed men and women came filing into the hall. We all applauded for them and made them feel welcome, and people got up and moved to different seats so that they could sit together.
They stayed and played for two Bingo sessions, until word came that their seats were ready at the restaurant. Then they all packed up and headed out the door together.
It was so fun and unexpected to have these out-of-town folks pop in to share an evening of Bingo with us. And it was especially nice of them not to win.
M.W., Illinois, via email

Dear M.W.:
What a welcome letter. You paint such a wonderful picture of your neighborhood with its mix of traditional old and trendy new, which sounds like it all blends well together. It strikes me as place I might like to live…especially come dinnertime.
Your story was particularly interesting because, while it was kind of the Bingo coordinator and your fellow Bingo players to make the tour group feel welcome, it was equally amazing that the visitors had decided to turn lemons into lemonade by joining a church Bingo for an hour or two instead of sitting on a boring shuttle bus getting hungry and cranky.
Two thumbs up to the driver and passenger for venturing into your community hall and asking if they could join you. I am curious, though—did the shuttle driver play Bingo too? —Aunt Bingo

Share your views! Write to Aunt Bingo c/o the Bingo Bugle, P.O. Box 527, Vashon, Washington 98070, or email her at Be sure to include your name and address (you can request that your name not be published), as typically she will not include anonymous letters in her columns.

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