Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Never Give Up

Good days have been few and far between recently but September 29th was a good day - for a number of reasons.

I left the house in the morning with a sense of relief and well-being. I'd forgotten how nice the air smelt and just how beautiful each new day is. A new day full of hope and opportunity, and for the first time in a long time I was a part of that.

As I walked up the road my feet barely kissed the pavement. Near to the top of the street I saw a homeless man. I've seen this guy regularly over the last few years. He'd asked me for money many times, perhaps mistaking my work uniform and respectable looks as a sign of wealth. The truth was I had no money myself - I'd always wanted to tell him that. I really wanted to help him but I couldn't. To him I must have looked like just another one of those business men in suits.

He asked me today and I responded as always - 'sorry mate, I can't'. He pursed his lips and forced a amile before saying 'thanks anyway, have a good day'. I took a few more steps then remembered the good fortune I'd experienced myself.

I stopped, turned back and sat down on the pavement beside him. He looked at me astonished, there was a glint of fear in his eyes. I reassured him I only wanted to speak to him, there was something I wanted to explain. I placed a £5 note in his hand. He looked at the note, then looked at the 8p lined up on the pavement in front of him and said 'thank you'. I said don't mention it and asked him why he was there.

He said "I know what you think.. I'm not a smack-head. I used to be like you - but I lost everything." I asked him what he meant by 'like me' and explained my life over the last few years. I explained that I understood how he felt after losing everything myself in the last three years.

We spoke for about ten minutes, people passing as we did. For a few minutes I shared how it felt to experience the disapproving looks of passers by. The feeling destroys your soul.

I left and went on my way. It felt good to have given something back. The human exchange between us was far more invaluable than the exchange of money.

Never give up.

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