Such a sweet moment in time.
John. I wanted to share an experience we recently had in a Burger King in West London.
My partner and I were on our way home from an evening out and he wanted a burger so we went to the local Burger King.
Once inside, we noticed an employee sitting alone at a table having something to eat. I later learned that her name is Diana and she appeared to have some mental and/or physical challenges.
While we continued to eat our burgers, I noticed that the young manager came by to clean her table and take her plate away. It was then that I saw something that helped restore my faith in humanity. The manager came back to Diana's table with a napkin in hand and gently wiped her face while she just smiled at him.
As a parent of a special needs child I was moved to tears by this simple gesture. Just knowing that there are people like this in the world gives me hope. He didn't know that I was watching but, I assure you I made him aware of what I saw and how much it pleased me. Here in this big noisy city where many have precious little time for anyone other than themselves, and where society can be very isolated while living amongst millions of others, this thoughtful and kind gesture moved me. His response was 'I just try to treat people the way my parents taught me to.' and do you know how hard that is to find in a great city like London. Small gestures like this have always moved me and the big cruel city that can suck you in and chew you up and spit you out in pieces, still has some kind and generous people with their time and consideration towards others and it is a reward to see.
I think about how often we are quick to share our bad customer service experiences on Facebook. I think that we should be just as quick to share these experiences as well. We need to share these stories and these positives especially now as we enter months of war in the Ukraine - basically a civil war in America - a lying cheating Prime Minister who lied and lied and keeps lying long after partygate was discovered, and it seems the whole world is going insane and it is the simple things, the small gestures, that bring a tear and a warm feeling.
Dear Mr. Bellamy. I came across all sorts of e mails and letters between yourself and ( name withheld ) who died earlier this year. It took me by surprise. We never knew our aged uncle was gay. We always knew he was an odd ball and had always lived alone and we
never thought of him as being gay at all and always thought he was just a little odd and against sex - period.
He always seemed to prefer his animals to humans. Seems he stayed many times with you for free and you helped him with his diet, his health, and above all, you were friends with him and from our memories, he was a bit of a difficult man, hence the family rarely visited, and your input into his life for that end period certainly made a difference to him. I alone kept in touch with him and I was aware he was away staying with a friend in Bournemouth a lot, but never gave it much thought. I did see how he brightened up - enormously - and I can honestly say I had not seen my Uncle smile in a very long time, but this past year, he changed big time and smiled a lot. He died in the night peacefully while sitting up in bed and had a great big smile on his face in death, which all the nurses were talking about - and it was good to hear. Thank you Mr. Bellamy and to your staff and guests who made him feel so welcome during these later years for him. I am sure it will be rewarded in Heaven one day. He was 86 years of age and that end smile will stay forever in my thoughts. Your kindness is heartwarming.
John Bellamy Adds:
Decades ago when I was an escort and ran a huge gay mens escort agency specializing in escorts over the age of 30 - a friend brought a friend of his around one afternoon who was homeless. He was mid 30's, handsome and real cute - and I was curious why he was homeless. He had had a really good job, a home with a mortgage and a lover and everything was good until the lover died of Aids ( this
was back in the early 90's ) - and he had had a massive breakdown, lost his job, lost the mortgage, lost the house and ended up homeless and living in a shelter in Earls Court that meant he had to take all his stuff out with him every day otherwise it would be stolen from the shelter and he looked pale and thin. I stated that within two weeks he could work through me and earn enough to put a months rent deposit, have enough to pay at least the next couple of months rent, and in that time - because he now had an address, he could claim housing and all the benefits while he got himself together to start getting back into a life of his own with proper employment and everything. He asked what the work would be and I stated escort work - and that it was NOT the horror picture he probably thought it was - and he was appalled and said no and his face folded in upon itself in disgust. I pointed out that it WAS NOT what he thought and he only had to look around my house to see I was not some asshole con man abusing people for money, but he was adamant - and when I said that it meant staying in the shelter, he said he would rather do that than sell his body.
Personally - I see that as fucking stupid. Absolutely fucking stupid. Get a man to suck on your cock for 30 minutes and after 4 or 5 of these - which for me in those days was an afternoons work - and he could have a weeks rent plus more besides, and he was horrified - as horrified as I was at his adamant refusal to actually do something TO HELP HIMSELF GET OUT OF THIS HOMELESS PREDICAMENT. He considered doing sex work the lowest of lows.... which actually made me laugh as here was me - ' the hooker' living in a house that a year or two later I sold for £ half a million ( Today is a £2 million home ) and he would rather live in a shelter than sell his body - through my agency that was VERY professional and decent ( unlike many ) and where he would be looked after and kept safe - and he was appalled.
Some people are destined to stay where they are in life and when I came home from America in 1985 and I was destitute and I was couch surfing for a while, my own Mother years later reminded me how I was advertising as a Palm Reader - worked part time as a cleaner ;- me - with a background in psychology, interior design, bereavement therapy as well as the hospitality industry - but until I got my act together I was willing to do just about anything ( but steal and anything corrupt ) and as I KNEW my journey forward was to be an escort / sex worker - it took me a very short time to financially manage to get my own flat - rented - which just 18 months later bought from the landlord for £93,000 paying ONE THIRD IN CASH... and I never looked back. I sold the flat after 6 years and bought the house and 7 years after that - bought Hamilton hall - again for cash - and remained HIV Negative and - kind of - sane...
Some people just do not want to help themselves and he remained homeless for 3 long years after that before the council re housed him in some grotty smelly pissy flat in Stratford, East London .
Some people you cannot help and more to the point, they cannot help themselves either.
----------------------------------------- John Bellamy Continues -
I saw an elderly lady sitting on a wall a few months ago and she was fumbling with her shoes, and looked a bit confused. As I came past I asked if she was okay and was there anything I could do for her. She said she was having trouble with her socks that kept coming down and under her feet in her shoes and she was having a problem pulling them up. I offered my help and asked permission before touching her, and she was delighted. It took seconds to sort her socks out and pull them up so her shoes would not keep pulling them down and her face lit up with thanks.
We chatted and it seems she lives in an old peoples home about a 3 minute walk from Hamilton Hall and I walked with her back to her home and she talked easily about her beliefs and how the old peoples home was a Christian place and as she had different views, she had to keep them ' under her hat ' but spoke openly to me about her spirit guides etc. and it was as if she knew I would completely understand and hear what she was saying as a truth and not that of a demented mind. She said she was so pleased to meet someone as open as I was and I responded by saying it was pleasant to meet her as most people who were elderly do not share such interesting views - which I completely understood, and the only thing I did ask which she didn't answer, was when I asked her age, ha ha , and that's when she went a little stiff on me, so I changed the subject.
Seems even in old age, and she must have been in her late 80's, some things are still too personal - and where she willingly talked about her spiritual beliefs with a complete stranger, but didn't like talking about her age.
Bless her. I hope I get to her age and with a mind as clear as hers
And this week I came across a women in her 30's on the pavement after falling off her bike and she was almost in tears as she rubbed her leg in pain and as I turned the corner and saw her, I immediately asked if she was okay. She said her brakes had been adjusted and were too sharp and a child ran round the corner and she had braked hard and gone over the handlebars - and I asked if she would like a cup of tea or something from the First Aid Box - ' as my hotel is just there - 100 yards away and you can sit and recover, ' - and as she looked at me I pointed out that - ' I'm gay dear so no worrying about anything bad happening...' and she laughed and got what point I was making - a strange man asking a strange women into his home... but she said she was fine and eventually got up and thanked me and rode off.
In London some time ago, a man dressed like a homeless person was spread eagled on the pavement near some steps and everyone ignored him, - everyone walked past and pretended they had not even seen him. Later THE SAME MAN now dressed in a business suit and cleaned up, in the exact same spot in the exact same position, loads of people stopped to ask if he was okay and did he need assistance.
It seems that if you look decent, people will offer help. If you look homeless, they will not.
Dear John . Thought I'd share this with you that happened some time ago. A man came into my restaurant asking me for some money. I looked at him and asked why he didn’t you have a job ? He was strong & healthy from what it appears and nothing was ever given to me for free.. I had to work real hard for everything I ever had in life.
The man told me that he had a lot of felonies, and nobody wanted to employ him because they saw a criminal and not someone genuinely trying. He told me he had turned to the streets and that he had had to start stealing and robbing, in order to survive, like most homeless people.
I was short staffed that day, so I asked him.. “Do you want to work for a few hours and earn some money and food with us here today ”?
His eyes opened up so wide and a big smile came across his face, and he said yes!!
He said he would do anything for some food. So for two weeks, he has been on time for his two hour shift. He helps me with taking out the rubbish and doing dishes and generally helps in the kitchens and background doing the grunge jobs, but he gets in there and gets down to it and is a very keen and good worker. I pay him at the end of each shift, and you know what he decides to do? Is to spend it in the restaurant on some nice warm food even though we offer him food for free, he refuses.. and I appreciate he has some pride, so I discount it massively for him. He told me today that he enjoys to being able to finally pay for something, that it makes him feel good inside.
If you do something nice for someone no matter what their situation is - it lightens your load and makes you feel good inside. Even if they are asking you for some spare change, because we really don’t know their story, or what they are going through. And everybody deserves a second chance.
Robert T. ---------------------------
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