I was going to try to make up a tale around a disturbing event that I heard about the other day but after a fitful night or two I decided that the biggest impact would come from just telling what I know.
Picture the scene. A man and his wife drinking coffee and eating some home made biscuits, in a nice warm comfortable apartment, with snow falling quite heavily outside and the man’s mobile phone rings…..
It is his brother. He fumbles with the phone a bit and the conversation starts. He is immediately concerned because his brother is clearly upset.
His brother tells him about an experience he has had.
It goes like this:
“I was on my way to the corner shop to pick up some eggs and I saw a chap, about 40, who seemed vaguely familiar, but who seemed to be kind of… out of context”.
He went on.
“I nodded to the guy and asked him if he was OK and he mumbled something about needing something to eat.”
“I looked around and realised that he must have been looking in the nearby bins.”
Being a good-hearted soul, he gave the guy all the cash he had on him but it only amounted to about a quid and after chatting briefly he continued on to the corner shop to get the eggs he had gone out for using his debit card.
The plight of the guy played on his mind and he got an extra half dozen eggs to give to him on his way back, thinking that three times a couple of eggs would at least make some kind of stop-gap meals.
The guy was really pleased but what he said next was a bit of a shocker. Almost to himself, he said, “I can just knock those back”, meaning he could just eat them raw.
The story teller recounted that he still didn’t get it.
“What? Don’t you have any juice?” He asked, thinking that the man might not have the cash for gas or electricity to cook his food.
“No” the guy said quietly, “I’m homeless.”
As he talked about this encounter he found it hard to keep a grip on his emotions. It could be heard in his voice. He had called his brother because he needed to share how he felt and it was just a short step to both of them struggling to keep their voices on a even keel.
He was particularly upset because he hadn’t been savvy enough to offer appropriate help, he made the wrong assumptions, and he felt that he should have done better.
In fact when he got back to his room and contacted a friend, they did do better. They got a small food parcel and some cash together and got it to the guy.
It later turned out that the man had been running his own small business until last year but it had all turned to shit.
How many more people are there out there in this sort of state?
What year are we living in 2021 or 1921?
People who may have never had any experience of these sorts of conditions; people who don’t have a clue where to turn to, what to do, how to get by, suddenly face a drop into an abyss. They may not have been well off but they muddled through, they saw some kind of future and, through circumstances that had little to do with them, it all just disappeared!
The man telling this story to his brother has always struggled to make ends meet but has always had time for others. He was upset that he couldn’t make more of a difference and was then apologetic for unloading onto his brother.
That is what humanity is all about.
After talking for a while about the state of our society and its disregard for human values; the added difficulties caused by the pandemic and the huge burden being put on us as individuals, their conversation ended on a more upbeat note with both of them looking forward to the outcome of the final test match against Sri Lanka.
He wanted to offer this story to his brother as material for a blog.
So here it is – it is the least I could do