Back in 2001 I was on contract in Aldgate. I’d take the train to London Bridge, walk along the Thames Path then across Tower Bridge and St Katherines Dock to get to work.
Just outside the station a homeless chap called Martin used to beg. I’d buy him a sandwich or a cup of tea a few times each week.
One morning Martin wasn’t there, not the next day either, nor ever again.
I didn’t think much of it: people move on.
Four years later I was boarding a train in Woking, when a voice called “Oi! Mate! Hold on!”.
I looked round and it was Martin! Neatly groomed, smart casual shirt and new pair of jeans.
Here’s the story.
He was begging at his usual pitch when a woman walked past, glanced at him, walked on a few paces then stopped, came back and asked him “Are you Martin?”
When he affirmed she said: “I’ve not seen you for years. I’m your Aunt!”.
Auntie lived in somewhat humble and dilapidated accommodation nearby but she took him in.
Two weeks later her number came up on the Premium Bonds! They moved out to Surrey and she set him up in his own gardening business.
“Listen mate”, he said to me, “I owe you a drink, in fact several drinks. Give me your number and we’ll go for a beer”.
So I gave him my number.
Never heard from him again!
I wish him well though.