On a bitterly cold morning, Steve was queuing up in Chit-Chats. He looked at the slices of cake and mince pies. On the board behind the counter, there were an array of hot and cold drinks on offer. Steve slowly progressed toward the till. When it was his turn, he bought a take-away coffee and bacon buttie, and popped his spare change in the tinsel-covered box for tips. After slipping his woolly hat and gloves on, he opened the door to a blast of icy wind.

His shoes crumped and slipped in the snow and ice. Then he stopped in his tracks. Steve saw the old tramp huddled under a blanket with a light dusting of snow. Pedestrians hurried past without even noticing. But Steve could not just walk on by. He saw the mug containing a few coins. The small piece of brown cardboard had one scrawled word: Help. Taking his gloves off, Steve rummaged in his pockets. But he had no change left. He walked up to the tramp and glanced at his food and drink.

“You need these more than me,” Steve said. “Merry Christmas!”

Steve laid the coffee and bacon buttie before the tramp, and placed sixty pounds in the metal mug. The tramp nodded and grabbed Steve’s arm. His voice was kind. “Keep doing what you’re doing.” Steve frowned and withdrew his arm slowly. He walked away, not sure about what had just happened.

Copyright © 2023 Callum Stanford.  All rights reserved.

Author: C.Stanford

Writer, blogger, outsider, survivor.

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