LESLEY KEATING: Homelessness – it’s where the heart is

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I was out shopping when it started to rain.

Side-stepping into a doorway, I saw a young chap, who can’t have been more than 20, huddled on his damp sleeping bag, bedraggled and clearly down on his luck, his dog next to him.

Someone had just given him a hot drink and he’d looked so grateful I felt compelled to go over give him £5.

I don’t always give money to people on the street. I like to use my judgment as much as possible. Once one rejected my offer of food saying they’d prefer cigarettes or cash.

I’ve also known of some who are students pretending to be homeless and begging for extra cash.

This one was different. There was just something about the look of sheer hopelessness and resignation in his face.

He was so grateful not be ignored and gave me such a lovely smile.

He said he was sleeping rough because he’d been kicked out by his girlfriend after a series of rows, his family had disowned him and he’d nowhere else to go, but he also said he was determined things were going to change and he’d been offered a place in a hostel next week. He was particularly happy about this because with an address he could look for work again.

It’s not for me to judge why he’d lost his home or surmise what sort of life he lived. That’s none of my business. At that point, he was just a human being, down on his luck and I was glad to have been able to do a little to help.

There I was shopping for things I simply wanted rather than needed and it made me feel a little ashamed.

Mike later told me an amusing story.

A friend’s daughter had done just the same but had also sat down next to the girl she’d given a few pounds to, chatting to her for a while.

As she was doing so, a man came over to them... and handed them both a sandwich and a cuppa!

NEWS COMES AT A PRICE, SO BUY IT!

Please, someone, tell me why people find the need to stand by the newspaper and magazine sections of supermarkets or newsagents and read publications studiously from cover to cover? They’re not libraries.

The other day I was in Morrisons and a chap was standing there, blocking the way, a tabloid fully open, reading intently.

I had to disturb his reverie with an ‘excuse me’ as I performed a contortion to rival an Olympic gymnast in order to weave past and grab my daily copy of The News.

He shuffled back a little, somewhat irritated, so I gave him ‘the look’.

I wasn’t prepared for what came next...

‘Don’t mind me love,’ he mumbled. ‘I’m not buying it, only reading it!’

Give me strength!

THEY MAY HAVE BEEN THROUGH HELL, BUT I DON’T LIKE THEM

Glamour model Chloe Ayling was chatting with Piers Morgan about her alleged kidnap ordeal during a Milan photoshoot, but I really didn’t warm to her.

She may well have suffered a dreadful trauma – although the case has yet to be tried – but there was something about her hard, calculating stare, hunger for publicity and general demeanour which made me question everything she said.

Whether she’s telling the truth or not, it suddenly occurred to me that she suffers from an unfortunate phenomenon. It’s called the ‘Unlikeability Factor’.

Others have included Joanne Lees, whose boyfriend Peter Falconio disappeared in the Australian Bush, and Madeleine McCann’s parents, who both sadly come across as cold and unpleasant despite the horrendous ordeal they have been through.

Time will tell.