Let me not defer…
Rush hour in London is a perfect example of organised chaos. Buses, cycles, pedestrians, taxis and cars miss each other by millimetres and head purposefully towards their respective destinations. The sun shone generously this morning, throwing light on every minute detail.
He sat on the edge of a low shop window on York Road. I saw him on my way from the bus-stop to the hospital. He sat there holding his head in both his hands – the classic pose. He must have been in his mid-twenties. There was darkness in his eyes, a small blue travel bag by his right foot. Not sure if he spoke English. He didn’t look drunk. I walked past him. I wanted to stop and talk to him but I knew this could take time and I would get late for work. I kept walking. Hundred yards ahead, I turned around and looked. He was still there. Still in the same position. Something needed attention. I thought I would quickly go to work, see if I could be spared and come back asap.
I did exactly that. I came back after 40 minutes but he was gone.
What could I have done? There are so many people, each one with their own problems and stories. What difference can I make?
I can ask – Are you ok? Can I help you?
I can offer my phone if they want to make a call.
I can have a phone number handy – 0808 800 4444 (Shelter)
I can have the belief that there is something I can do.
Postponing a positive action is a sure way of missing the entire fleet.
I was unaware that every day 150 families in Britain become homeless.