The Blog

I Refuse to Believe in What Must Be Wrong

I refuse to believe we don't believe in equality, seeing love and marriage as a crime rather than a given right. I refuse to believe that the general public of this country would happily let others suffer because they're OK themselves.

Last Saturday night, I went to a party. Bear with me, there's more.

I was running the Great Manchester Run the next morning so decided to drive rather than have a drink. After a few hours of drinking water I decided to wind it in and call it a night.

I was a couple of minutes from home at around half past midnight (get me) when, out the corner of my eye I noticed a man collapsed on the floor. It was dark and cold with no one else around. From what I could tell, the man wasn't moving and was in serious trouble.

I quickly turned my car and pulled up at the side of the road.

I've never really had to save an unconscious man before. What do you do? Put them in the recovery position? What if he's dead? Do you still do it?

I walked towards him and took my phone out. As I got closer, he moved.

I shouted over to him.

"You OK mate?"

"Yeah. I'm just a bit pissed."

As I got next to him he looked at me and I could see his face; kind and inoffensive. If you could have a normal face, his was it.

He had a bag full of clothes that he was clinging on to as if they were his only possessions. Looking at him, I would be surprised if they were.

He spoke politely. He called me Sir and smiled.

I stood him up.

He couldn't stand up.

I asked him where he'd been. "Just work" he slurred back in a way that was about as believable as a Katie Hopkins apology.

I asked him where he was going and he said the end of the road.

I looked around cautiously and back at him. For the first time I noticed his eyes - really fucking sad.

Empty, confused and lonely, and it wasn't just because of the booze.

I helped him up and put him in the car. For a minute he seemed as cautious as me.

I was relying on him being able to recognise his surroundings enough to direct me.

I was weary of him and he was weary of me but after a few careful questions and defensive answers, we both dropped our guards and he started to open up.

He told me that he has a good life - a wife and two kids. He told me how lucky he is. How much he loves them. But he's having money problems and it's tearing him, and them, apart.

"Things are really hard, Sir." He said to me. Honest and raw. I could almost feel the desperation in his voice. He looked at me, both confused and comforted by my gesture of help.

This man wasn't a nuisance to society. He was a victim of it. He could sense his life falling apart and seemed unable to do anything about it.

As he spoke he seemed to sober up, as if hearing his own words and realising his situation was enough for him think straight, despite being so drunk he lost a shoe.

It was a strange moment as this 30 odd year old dad of two, was now being delivered back to his mother by a stranger.

He shook my hand for the umpteenth before he left. He told me he's finding life hard and didn't know where to turn.

I noticed he was wearing pyjama bottoms. This man hadn't come straight from work. He'd been at home. He'd been drinking his troubles away and the bag of clothes he was clinging on to were the necessities he grabbed on his way after being told to leave, or making a stance himself.

He let himself out the car after thanking me again and I watched him walk to the door, mainly to check he got there OK but also to make sure I wasn't now an 'accomplice'.

As he went in I continued home. Knowing I would probably never see him again but hoping that his night and life might now be a little bit better than it might've been had he lay on that floor all night.

I turned on the radio to listen to some middle aged people talk about the General Election. An angry man spat into his microphone accusing the nation of turning its back and possessing an 'I'm Alright Jack attitude; selfish and narrow-minded.

I listened to him, deeply ashamed, and I refused to believe his words could be true. I refused to believe that is what we have become.

I refused to believe that we are a nation lacking empathy and compassion. That we are naïve enough to think that, because we might be OK now, we always will be.

I refuse to believe that we can underestimate the cruel twist of fate that could be just around the corner for any of us - redundancy, tragedy, illness, death.

I refuse to believe that we are willing to ignore the needy, demonise the poor. That we're willing to judge a woman by her skirt first and her words second.

I refuse to believe we don't believe in equality, seeing love and marriage as a crime rather than a given right.

I refuse to believe that the general public of this country would happily let others suffer because they're OK themselves.

They say ignorance is bliss but this isn't bliss - it is sheer desperation; desperation for hope, desperation for things to be different.

There has to be a conscience, there has to be hope. If we can tap into that hope, tap into that heart we will see that by helping others we are giving ourselves a chance.

I helped that man on Saturday not because I felt sorry for him, not because it could've been me. I helped him because of basic humanity. I helped him because it was the right thing to do.

I know that people of this country understand the difference between right and wrong, but scaremongering and blame shifting have blurred the lines of benevolence. We need to go back to basics; give people hope and comfort for the common good.

If not, I fear those angry words on a late night radio show will be the truest words spoken.