As I was rushing to work one cold, drizzly morning, I saw a young girl, either in her late teens or early twenties, sitting on the South Quay footbridge with an empty cup in front of her. 

“Spare some change please,” she intoned. 

As I rushed past her, she said, “Merry Christmas.”

I stopped and walked the few steps back to her. She was about the same age as my daughters.  She should be home somewhere warm and safe, perhaps waking up to go to work or college. Not here, vulnerable and weak. My heart ached looking at her pale face with hollowed eye sockets and cold sores.

“I can take you to a homeless shelter,” I said. “Let’s go and sit in the cafe whilst I google the nearest one from here.”

“I don’t want to,” she said. “Lots of drugs there, and I am trying to clean up.”

I frowned at that comment, for never once had I ever considered that possibility. I know homelessness is a growing problem in my country – please watch this movie based on a TRUE story, I Am Daniel Blake, to understand why there is homelessness and hopelessness in a country with a social security system. There is a young mother who had to try prostitution to get money for her son to go to school. Unbelievable! This is a trailer:

Anyway, I still have reservations about giving money to people who are begging on the streets, so I bought her a hot drink and a breakfast baguette. During my lunch hour, I assembled this box of warm scarf, Christmas socks, hygiene products and goodies for her. I hope I see her tomorrow, or maybe not.

So do think about reaching out – no judgement ❤

Main photo: dreamstime