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This is a question Broken Promises

Thebigfella tugs our coat and says: Are you a LibDem minister, a cheating partner, or maybe you have an annoying friend you can't be bothered with? Tell us of promises you've broken, or if you've been on the receiving end.

(, Thu 2 Dec 2010, 12:40)
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A Christmas True Story
Nothing causes more broken promises than an addiction to alcohol. Work, family, friends, they all bear the brunt and eventually stop calling, visiting and finally, stop caring.

This is a true story.

In Glasgow, most of the high rise blocks have a concierge office … basically one of the flats in the building has one or two guys who look after the place, letting in workmen, monitoring the CCTV, making minor repairs and helping out where possible. Some are better than others, but let me tell you about John (for that is his name). Now he has actually been recognised for his work in organising charity football matches, and he also runs trips to places like the Science Centre for local kids and runs things like OAP meals and trips to the bingo, but forget about that, let me tell you something that happened last Christmas.

One of the residents he looked after was an alcoholic (let’s call him ‘the man’). An alcoholic who was in such a bad way that although he was only mid forties, he had problems leaving the house, and no amount of talking and persuading would stop him drinking. He was killing himself slowly. What John did was to talk to every other person around his flat, saying ‘Look I know you think you’re doing this guy a favour by getting him drink. Don’t. Get him milk, tea, toilet roll, food. If he wants booze he’ll bloody well have to get it for himself.’

This resulted in a few sober days where John managed to have a few talks with him, discover things about his old job, his estranged mother and family, and helped him start to tidy up the flat he lived in, which through years of neglect was in a very bad way.

He still drank, a lot. No-one would help him get drink, but if he wanted it badly enough no-one could really stop him. There’s no overnight cure, especially if the person looking after you is just essentially an employee of the landlords of the building you live in, but over the months, the flat became tidier, the man started looking after himself a bit more and occasionally got out the house for things other than a trip to the pub.

John was working on Christmas morning last year. The two concierges who were on duty called at the man’s flat early, bundled in and John said, ‘Right, it’s time.’ He was handed a razor, made to have a long wash and dressed in some ‘new’ smarter clothes. He was bundled into a car and taken across Glasgow, destination unknown.

They pulled up at a non-descript house, the man was marched up the drive, the bell was rang and the door answered by an older lady.

“Mrs, here’s your son.”

He didn’t stick around for the reaction. His second job that morning was to return to the block he looked after and make sure every child, children of asylum seekers who didn’t celebrate Christmas, children with parents who couldn’t afford it, every single child who lived there, got a present. Paid for from his own pocket. I can imagine he felt a bit tired but happy that evening as he and the other concierge sat with their feet up in their little office when there was a knock on the door.

The man, his mum, his sisters and their husbands came in with some foil covered plates, a big Christmas dinner for John and whoever was on shift with him (and a surreptitious can of beer or two for them to take home). Not much, but all they could afford, and they’d travelled across Glasgow with it.

The man’s family had welcomed him with open arms, and that day the man had discovered for the first time that he was an uncle … and his mum had got her son back for Christmas.

Apologies for length, and the wee bit of shoehorning needed to get this into the QOTW this week. This is a completely true story told to me by someone who knows him and knows of his work. As I say he has been recognized in a small way for what he does, but John is simply one of the good guys in this world. He makes a huge difference for those that need it and in doing so makes everything just a wee bit better for us all.

Cheers, Cheeses
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 18:01, 24 replies)
That's fucking champion work there
Well played to all concerned!

Cheers for taking the time to share
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 18:45, closed)

I couldn't not share his story, was in tears hearing about it but this is the first QOTW I could fit it in!
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 20:33, closed)
is what Christmas should be about.

John deserves a knighthood.
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 19:50, closed)
I doubt he'd want a knighthood.
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 18:37, closed)
Brought a tear to my eye
The world needs more like him.

(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 20:16, closed)
This gets a Woo AND a Yay from me. I might even stretch to a Houpla!
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 20:26, closed)
Made me blub.
What a lovely fella. :-)
(, Fri 3 Dec 2010, 20:33, closed)
I think there's something in my eye
*chrimbo click*
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 0:08, closed)
mine too
but I managed to find the clicky thing
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 9:55, closed)
My very own Dad ...
lives in one of these Barad Durs in Glasgow. Living comfortably in the sub-tropical climes of Australia, as I do, I can do nothing but look on in horror as the worst winter in 30 year extends its clutches around my Dad, who is too proud to ask for help from anyone other than your eponymous John.

Kudos to John, and agnostic wishes (I can't quite bring my sarcastic self to offer prayers) that he is the Shepard overseeing my own dear (sortof) Dad in this most modern of Winters of Discontent.
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 6:06, closed)
First time a QOTW's made me cry
Lovely story *click*
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 10:14, closed)
Your man John
should be the flippin Prime Minister and member of parliament in place of all those (not all of them)wankers and nasty bastards who currently fill the positions.
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 15:50, closed)
That sort of thing happens more often than you would think
part of the reason it happens more often than you'd think is because the people doing the work don't bleet on about how charitable they are.

Miracles happen every day. The best ones go unnoticed.
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 18:35, closed)
I really hope
this is true. Charity is it's own reward and John deserves a knighthood. The world needs more people like this.

There's still something in my eye...
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 18:39, closed)
don't tell Cameron
He'd take all the credit for dreaming up the "Big Society".

(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 21:18, closed)
What a lot of people don't realise is
It costs fuck all money to fix a whole lot of things that are wrong with society.

The trouble is, politics has an tendancy to obscure this simple fact and make things seem far more complicated than they really are.
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 23:54, closed)

I have a nice warm fuzzy feeling now
(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 23:15, closed)
I 'm willing to bet that John gets that all the time.

(, Sat 4 Dec 2010, 23:56, closed)
John's shagging warmfuzzyfeeling?
(, Sun 5 Dec 2010, 1:19, closed)
This is absolutely fucking brilliant
and this bloke John is a total legend.
*click*, obviously.
(, Sun 5 Dec 2010, 17:15, closed)
Stories like this give me hope about underlying human nature
Can we find out more details about this guy and send him the product of a Christmas whip-round?
I've an aunt who has a similar heart of gold, whose story I will tell if an appropriate QotW ever offers the opportunity.
In the meantime, have a click for an uplifting seasonal tale.
(, Sun 5 Dec 2010, 21:49, closed)
I don't do Christmas
But please PM me this guy's address so I can send him a present.
(, Tue 7 Dec 2010, 4:56, closed)
Thanks for all your responses to this.

Been wrestling with giving out more information about this guy ... rest assured he exisits and this is the tip of the iceberg of what he does, but to properly identify him would probably identify 'the man' too which isn't fair on him.

That's the reason that this is the only place that this particular part of his story could be told. It was actually a press person that told me it and told me how annoying it was not to be able to publish it to a wider audience!

If it's something that's felt strongly about though I could get someone to ask him, but I know what the response will be ... "Don't be bloody stupid! What are you doing being nice to me! It's those folk over there that need help!"

So if you liked this ... pass it forward.

Cheers, Cheeses
(, Wed 8 Dec 2010, 11:55, closed)
Glasgow's miles better
I was going to ask which block of flats John works in, but I totally agree with your reasons for not releasing more info. Clicked, anyway. Pure brilliant.
(, Thu 9 Dec 2010, 14:50, closed)

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