A few years ago I was a full time taxi driver, which incidentally is a really good job to witness and deliver small acts of kindness. I’d always help get the shopping to the door, occasionally let deserving causes have a free ride and feel pretty good about myself for doing it.
Stupid early one Sunday morning I was waiting on Angel Hill enjoying the peace, the council had been round and cleared the debris from the night before and the pigeons were picking over what had been left. The only two souls were me and the homeless lady sat on the bench in front of the Registry Office. I haven’t seen her for some time, she used to have a camp right in the middle of the market every night, I think it was outside the Halifax. She is proper homeless, bags with bags in, 2 coats on – undefinable age. I tried to buy her a coffee one morning in Tesco garage but she didn’t understand what I was trying to do and seemed scared so I left her alone.
So we were alone, she was in my door mirror and I doubt she knew I was there. Round the corner from Eastgate Street came a lady I had known from a teaching course I failed to complete once. I was working in the prison at the time and she was delivering scrapbooking courses, one lesson was about discipline in the classroom, she had had two very disruptive ladies on one of her courses once – another lasting memory.
So scrapbook lady disappeared up Abbeygate Street. A couple of minutes later she reappeared and walked towards Halifax lady. As she got near she slowed until she was noticed. As the lady looked up she said a couple of words, gently touched her on the shoulder and handed her an envelope. She walked away before she had a chance to open it and was soon round the corner going back up Abbeygate Street – past the newsagents that she must have stopped into.
The lady with the bags was in slo-mo. The card was in her hand, she looked at the card, at the disappearing lady, at the card, at the empty street.
She opened the card, pulled out the money, read the card, looked at the money , read the card, looked at the money, looked at the corner the stranger had disappeared round. She just sat there until I had to leave, looking at the card, the money, the corner.
I will never forget it. Thank you Halifax lady, thank you scrapbook lady.