One in Three Families
The other day a friend said to me
"You have a daily reminder of why we should appreciate what we have"
Well I'm going to tell you a little story which might take a little while but it should warm your heart as it did mine.
I've parked my car in the lock up, right outside my workshop, it has gates that are closed and locked all the time. One day I parked my car, unlocked the gate behind me and sat in my car to make a few telephone calls.
As I sat there out of the corner of my eye I could see someone standing to the left of my car, I thought I was seeing things so just let it slide until I saw the body move. At that point I realised it was really a person who was inside my lock-up.
I came out of the car and I asked the person "Where did you come from?"I received no reply. The Person then replied "From over there". He pointed to a kind of outbuilding that had rats and loads of rubbish inside. So I said to him "So you're sleeping in there?" he said "Yes".
To tell the truth I was totally shocked out to see him there and to realisethat he was living inside the outside of my building, I was at a loss for words. Over the next few days the area around where he was staying was getting very messy, I mean Very messy! Needles used spoons and human waste, not nice at all. So I decided to have a chat with my new tenants.
On Tuesday I went into the out building where he was staying and woke him up (it was 10.30am). I asked him his name and he said, Charlie. I said "Nice to meet you Charlie I'm Jay, can I have a word please?" "Yes" he replied.
" Well Charlie I don't mind you staying here but I can't deal with the mess" Fair play to him he took it on the chin and listened to me, even if he was half asleep "If you're gonna stay here, can you put needles and spoons in a bin that I will give you, as I don't want to be stepping on them." Charlie then said "I don't take drugs but the other guys do" I said "How many of you are living in here? Three of us and two of them take drugs" he said. I said "Wowwww, ok, look I will tellyou what I'm gonna do. I will clean this whole area up just the once and after I've done that can you please tell the others to use the bins I leave out for you guys?" he said ok and went back to sleep.
A couple of days had passed and the area started to get messy again, not as bad but it was on its way there. Then three days ago I came to park my car up and the place/ area was spotless. I couldn't believe my eyes, I was thinking, where is Charlie? I want to tell him thank you. I looked in the area where they were living and OMG it looked like a bed sit. They had a bed, bedside cabinet, a place to hang up some clothes and even had a mirror.
This was not what I was expecting to see at all. I came back to my workshop later that evening, as I was picking up my car who did you think I saw coming back, yeah your right Charlie.
I was so glad to see him I jumped out of the car and shouted "Charlie". He looked at me as if I was a mad man going to do him some harm. As he walked over I ask him who tidied up this area and he replied I did. "Wow man it looks great, nice one for doing that because I didn't think you were listening to me the other day." He then said well you were so nice to me the other day, letting me stay here, getting me food and then cleaning up the mess we had made. The least I could do is to keep it clean and make the effort in our room." I responded "If you keep it clean like this you can stay here all the time".
I popped my head in the other day and saw that they have even started making their beds, the fact that they are taking pride in their space demonstrates they still have their dignity, something we can all learn from.
In research conducted this year Housing charity Shelter found that one in three families are a month's pay from losing their homes in the event of job loss, circumstances can change and any of us could be Charlie.
So back to what my friend has said at the beginning of this blog, "You have a daily reminder of why we should appreciate what we have."
I think we all do really.
The next time you see a homeless person, think of Charlie and really think about what you have in your life then value it.
I did take some photos of the area but I thought, these guys need privacy.