How those with open hearts and minds changed my life, and helped make me who I am today.

So in the 1990's, on Piccadilly in London, would have been me. Either wandering around or huddled up in the doorway, during several parts of the year, yo-yo'ing from a life living on the streets and in several foster placements and children's homes.

I'd spent a lot of time living on the streets as a runaway teenager, and I guess it's fair to say that by some point I'd become addicted of my sense of freedom.
Perhaps being moved around between foster placements, sometimes at the last minute, and all the arguing with my mum and her fella, and all the confusion had somewhat troubled me.

By the time I was thirteen, I'd already learned how to survive living on the streets.
Before I'd got confident enough to sit and beg on the streets at 13, I'd be standing outside London tube stations telling passers-by that I was stuck and needed to get home, and asking if they could help, although one time I got pulled by undercover police doing that at Victoria station.

As I think back to my time when I'd probably most got used to living on the streets, the sound of Piccadilly's traffic and the aroma of the then nearby coffee shop comes straight back to me.
Well that was at the point from late 13 probably, when I'd had my long term spot, a big doorway which was the fire exits to both a restaurant and a nightclub, with an air conditioning unit that blew warm air from the nightclub.
In the months leading up to that, I would be found sitting outside tube stations gouching out because I hadn't slept for weeks.. 

But there's a big message in my book Poems From a Runaway, and that's the value of those that stepped out of the general flow of human traffic, to truly reach out to me.
Sure I appreciated the brief meetings with those that would drop me coins or give me notes as I was begging, and thanks to them, but it's not those that I'm referring to.
And before I go on, it's important to remind you that very few I met knew that I was a runaway. 
I always lied about my age, and told a pretty convincing story. So for the sake of this message. for just a few moments let put age aside, and look at it from a soul perspective point of view, because anyone at any age could find themselves where I was.

I was lucky to not dip my feet into the drug world so much. I knew everyone that was around but I'd felt safer at the bottom end of Piccadilly rather than be around Oxford Circus, Tottenham court road and Soho where heroin and crack problems were rife.

But I'm talking those that reached out to me in other ways such as the woman that used to come and play scrabble with me whilst I was sat in the doorway, and those that used to come and chat with me, perhaps even take me out for a bit to eat.

Those sorts of moments were vital, because things had got to a point where those sorts of moments had felt so far away. 
There's many people out there that haven't had those things we take for granted, for a long time.

Not every homeless person might want the company, but it's certainly something to think about. 
Even I had my defenses up when trusting people a lot of the time, simply because there are a lot of sharks out there.

For those with the passion and the resources to help make some magic, we need to see more homeless and non-homeless mingling more among each other, it's a real confidence booster and breath of fresh air. 
Simply to get asked a little bit about yourself is a rare occurrence for many street homeless, but that love shown to people is special.

Big dinners, football matches, a night at a nightclub. surely someone can do something.


You can find Poems From a Runaway on amazon at

No comments:

Post a Comment