As with many other students up and down the country I spent my Friday night getting dressed up and going out on the town. Whilst I like a drink as must as the next person, I can’t say I’m much of a party animal, so this was a bit of a rare occasion. Whilst it was a great night! I must admit that this isn’t what this is about.
By 1am we had all worn ourselves out with the dancing and left the kids to it! (I can’t believe how much I aged on entering the club!!!) and headed to get some noodles – your typical post night food of course!
I was walking towards a homeless guy sat against a wall and watched some young lads give him a bag of take away food, which put a bit of a smile on my face. Although as we got closer my friend noticed that something wasn’t right with him and we asked if he was alright. and this is where we get to the point of this post. The lad sat there must have been no more than 25 huddled underneath a sleeping bag which had seen better days and just generally looking a bit shit. He also had a swollen eye and fresh bruise coming out. He proceeded to tell us how a man (if he can be called that), a stranger had walked up to him and punched him in the face before carrying on walking. I mean I still can’t quite believe it and I have seen some thing don’t get me wrong, but it’s the coldness and hate an individual must feel to do that. Well my friend told him we were student nurses (she does that a lot!) and I was the ‘most medical’ one of us. As I took a close look at his eye, felt to see if there was any numbness and suggested he go to a&e, I felt really sorry for him. Not in a pity way, I don’t particularly see the use in feeling pity and often people don’t want it felt for them, but in a ‘this is so shit’ kind of way and how in fact he just seemed to think it’s just what happens to people on the street. I had a chat with him and shared something I in fact never share with anyone. I told him I really did understand because I used to spend nights on the street too. During the worst time of my life I remember nights deciding between being warm, dry or safe. Having cars pull up to me asking if I was a prostitute. Feeling so incredibly lonely and stuck in this awfully hopeless situation. It was never something that I wanted or was my fault, I like many was a victim to my circumstances and still only a child. So when I sat and spoke to this guy all I could say is ‘it is possible for things to get better’, I know so much how it feels like it never will and how everything seems like the biggest, hardest, uphill struggle and how the entire world is against you right now. But somehow I’m sat here talking to you with a normal life, on a night out with my normal friends, with everything that I never even let myself dream I would have. But sadly I know how almost impossible it is to get here and how incredibly rare – which makes me feel so so lucky, for I may have done this all by myself, but having the luck and resilience to see me through.
A large percentage of our homeless were once in care. They like me were looked after children and we as a society let them down and are still letting them down every single day. What is going so wrong in our system that we are ending up on the streets and so young. But also how as a society we just don’t give a shit. We often wrongly view the homeless as ‘lazy’ or ‘it’s their own fault’, I mean what about that rich kid recently who burnt money in front of a homeless man, people who steal and burn their only possessions, assault them or urinate on them. for what?! Why?! I really don’t understand. and as they say, a lot of us are only one pay cheque away from the streets.
So if you can do just one thing, it is, be nice, don’t cause harm… DON’T BE A DICK!