Charlotte Ellis and her boyfriend Taylor Walden had a night out and ended up getting stuck out in the freezing cold, waiting for a train that had gotten stuck for 4 hours. It was so late it was really early morning, and the couple, still a bit drunk, had missed the last train.
As time dragged on, the freezing Ellis and Walden heard a voice from behind them.
“You can burrow my coat and duvet if you want? It’s a long wait and it’s freezing tonight.”
They turned around to see a homeless man, who introduced himself as Joey. Ellis immediately took him up on the offer, though Walden gave her a weird look.
“I was literally shivering,” Ellis said. “Then I thought—I can’t leave him here, I can’t leave him here—and we can’t wait here any longer, so you’re coming with us.”
After chatting with him for the span of 30 minutes, they thought of Joey as a friend, and felt compelled to help him out.
So the couple decided to do something they thought was a little crazy—or more than a little, as they waited a week and toiled hard over the decision before sharing it with their family and friends.
“People are quick to judge and say that we are crazy and assume what they may, there are still family & friends that we haven’t told just because we were hesitant on how some people would react, please do not be offended if we haven’t yet told you, but we live in a pretty messed up society we’re people are quick to jump to assumptions,” Ellis shared on Facebook.
They persuaded Joey to stay with them for the night, to get a hot shower and warm bed to sleep in. Joey thought they were kidding at first, and there was a lot of doubt in his mind. They went back and forth about it for 10 or 15 minutes.
“It took Taylor to explain that if you don’t come with us I’m not going to get her home. Joey finally accepted,” Ellis shared on Facebook.
Then she added, half jokingly, that it was his turn to be surprised (or horrified) when the cab pulled out to this little cabin in the woods, in the middle of nowhere.
But then over the next few hours they drank some more, exchanged life stories, and “instantly became the best of friends.”
“It’s something I can’t even explain, it was just meant to be. I don’t expect everyone to get it.”
They made a bed for him, Walden gave Joey the coat off his back, and the couple discovered that the experience was just as much of a gift for them as it was for Joey.
Of course, then morning came around and Ellis was faced with having to tell her parents that they invited a “homeless guy” home—but she was sure her mother would understand once she knew how kind Joey’s soul was.
Then, little by little, the couple introduced him to their friends, got him a haircut, invited him to family dinners—and Joey felt his life start to turn around again.
“After the first night, he wasn’t ‘Joey the homeless guy,’ he was Joey, he was our friend. There was no way we were going to send him back,” Ellis said. Then their close friends Jenni and Brad started to help as well, providing him a place to stay.
Joey had been on the streets for a few months, because of a combination of seemingly small but horribly timed events that left him without a roof over his head. Down on his luck, he hadn’t been able to find a way back. But then in less than a week after meeting Ellis and Walden, Joey’s life had done a complete 180.
“Joey in 5 days had a job interview today, I can now confirm that he has a job,” Ellis shared on social media. “Joey is now not living on the streets!! All he needed was someone to have faith in him and help be that stepping stone to make a difference.”
For Joey, the friendship extended to him was life-changing.
“It’s been absolutely uplifting—words can’t describe it,” Joey told This Morning.
Sometimes, all we need is someone to show that they believe in us. Giving someone a few minutes of your day can make all the difference, even if you don’t see if right away.
Ellis took to Facebook to share her story in hopes that it would help restore others’ sense of compassion in a world where so many of us have to be a bit fearful or suspicious.
“I share this story for one reason only, please just give a little time to stop and ask them how their day is, make them know that there is people out there that do care,” she wrote. “Just give them a little bit of your time. It costs nothing.”
It costs nothing to be kind, and we all have the ability to be good people, she added.
“But most importantly his taught us what life really is, his taught us what real friends are and I can honestly say that it’s the most amazing feeling I’ve ever felt,” Ellis wrote.