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Intuition: A Moment in Life


Intuition: A Moment in Life that can make a difference

On my way to work, I change buses at Archway. The bus-stop is just around a tricky corner with the pedestrian stop about 50 metres down the road from the bus-stop. Tuesday was a beautiful evening; cold but with crisp skies and although I was running a bit late, I was not as hurried as I usually am.

Sitting in the bus-stop, directly opposite me I noticed a young woman struggling across the road on her crutches, dangling what looked like a very awkward bag to the side of it. She was hurrying across and I marvelled at her foolishness. Yes, it was the direct short cut to the bus-stop, but if a car came zooming around the corner, with her crutches, she would not have much time to get out of its way.

She made it over ok, and as she came to sit next to me, I could see that her ‘handbag’ was actually a sleeping bag, and from the smell of her, I could tell that she had been sleeping rough. She needed a bath and clean cloths.

‘Risky!’ I exclaimed.

Without either anger or anxiety, she replied in a soft voice, ‘I know’.

Her foot was encased in a grubby sock, and as she unhooked herself from her crutches, I could see her stained hands and dirty fingernails.

‘What happened to your foot?’, I inquired. ‘Someone stepped on it, and now, because I am sleeping rough, it is not healing.’ She turned to me as she spoke, and I could see that she was young, not more that 23 or 24, maybe younger, with lovely blue eyes.

‘Aren’t you in the shelter?’

‘They have just offered me a place. It’s £4.50 a night, but you have to pay them the full £32 for a week. I’ve been begging up at the Archway, but the police have just moved me on. Now I am worried that they are going to think I don’t want it. I’ve already made £11, now I am just moving to make the rest.’

I thought quickly. ‘Look, I don’t have much on me, but here, take this.’ I started rooting around in my bag for my loose coins. I rarely carry much cash on me, so it didn’t amount to much. ‘Sorry. It’s not much. But I am on my way to work, look here is my bus.’ I gave her the last of the coins and jumped on the bus, hotfooting it up the stairs, as I always do,

On the bus, I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I had given her £3.00, but would I have time to get off the bus and try and wait for her to catch up and try and catch her eye and then maybe give her £20? Fuck knows, I’m not flush, but that girl needed to get her foot rested. And I liked her. I liked her a lot. I couldn’t work out why she would be on the streets. She was very well spoken. Very soft. Not at all guilt trippy or a victim. It just didn’t make sense. And I was still worrying about how I could find her. Maybe tomorrow I could go and find her in Archway. It just didn’t seem right to leave her there.

As the bus got to Nags Head, I looked out the window and saw her on the pavement. She must have got onto the bus just behind me. Or maybe even on the same bus. But there she was. I quickly ran down the stairs and jumped off the bus. She was surprised to see me.

‘Look. If I give you £20, can you get into shelter for the night?’

‘Yes. I can!’, she replied, ‘I can get in for a week.’

‘Ok. Look, I need to go to a cash point, but I don’t know where one is.’

‘There is one just there’, she pointed.

‘Ok’, I said hurriedly, ‘I will go there and get the cash and you come and get it’

I quickly ran the 100 metres to the cash point and turned to give it to her.

‘Are you sure?’

Oh fuck yes!

I had already made up my mind on the bus and I couldn’t believe that I had seen her again.


I turned to go.

‘My name is Naomi by the way.’

‘I’m Debra’.

We looked at each other for a few seconds, and both teared up.

‘Good luck Naomi’, I said, as I ran to catch my bus, if I don’t get to the office before 5, I can’t get the keys to the community centre.

I felt so fucking good! It wasn’t nothing for me, and it might mean having to do without a few things, but it would make a great deal of difference to her. And to the small voice in my head that was saying, ‘She could have been a con artist’, I answered, ‘So what! I liked her. For all I care, she can use that money to go and have a great big slap up meal.’

I told my family about her that night and said I would like to find her and go and hear her story. Even my son refrained from asking what I was doing giving money away. I wondered if I might ever see her again.

This afternoon, I took a strange route home, as I had some things to do, and stopped off near the Nags Head, running into Seven Sisters Road to catch the bus up to Crouch End. I recognised her from the back.

‘Naomi’, I cried, ‘Did you manage to get into the Shelter? I’ve been thinking about you all the time!’

‘Yes, I did!’ she replied, ‘and because I got into the shelter, they got me onto the housing list, and because I have a bad foot, they had me bid on a flat, and they told me yesterday that I got it. I’ve got a one bedroom flat! When they told me, I almost fell over. Everything has just fallen in place. Even when they told me, I just had to tell someone, so I phoned a friend, and she has paid the administration charges.’


‘Yes. I can’t believe it!

‘I can’t believe I am seeing you! I don’t normally come this way’

‘Well, I am only here, because I came to sign the papers’.

‘Oh Naomi, I am so happy, for you!’ I gave her a great big hug and then spotted my bus arriving.

‘I have to get my bus now.’

‘It all happened because of you. You got me off the streets. It was because of you.’

We both teared up again and then I said goodbye once more and jumped onto the bus.

I am so, so chuffed. There were so many reasons and excuses that I could have made not to help this young woman, but my intuition was so strong. I am so glad that things have fallen into place for her. It was such a small thing for me to do, and according to her, it set in motion a series of events that has helped to change her life. It gives me hope in doing the small things that one can. We aren’t all cut out for greatness, and I know only too well the feelings of despair at not being able to do all I want for the people I care about; but sometimes, small things do make a difference. A big difference.

This story by Debra Watson