Tony Warner, the 313th person I’ve met on my quest to have lunch with 500 strangers, is so proud of the work his organisation does that he glows with pride when he speaks.

Tony is the CEO of The Humour Foundation, an organisation that provides much-needed joy and distraction for children in hospitals and people living with dementia in aged care facilities.

It’s heartwarming to hear Tony share stories of ‘clown doctors’ who have helped children deal with painful medical procedures and given elderly residents a reason to feel valued.

These clown doctors are talented artists: they get paid for their work, which they do alongside their other gigs. To land an ongoing role with The Humour Foundation, they’re put through a rigorous apprenticeship, to prove they have the skill and temperament to work in such a challenging environment.

Tony grew up in Wales, studied social science in Manchester and then moved to Chicago to work. His first full-time role was running a program for troubled high school students, where he learned how hard life can be for children who may come from underprivileged, dysfunctional households.

While the Welshman was living in America, he met and married a Kiwi who had family in Australia – so, in 2010, after eight years in Chicago, Tony moved to Sydney. Eight years after that, he joined The Humour Foundation.

Tony is an incredibly likeable person. He’s genuine, easygoing and has a good sense of humour. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to not only make a new friend but also learn about his organisation’s incredibly valuable work.