A Good Samaritan has praised her ‘amazing’ community after they came together with a simple act of kindness.
Lisa Barnacles jumped into action after seeing a homeless man out in the cold as she drove through her hometown of Leek on Saturday and decided to buy him a bite to eat.
She visited family-run Scorpio Fast Food, on Haywood Street, which put together doner meat, chips, water, a can of pop and a piece of chocolate fudge cake for the discounted price of just £5.
And the takeaway even offered to pay for the man to stay in Leek’s Premier Inn overnight.
Lisa, aged 42, said: “I was just driving home when I noticed this person on the cold, hard floor.
“As soon as I saw him I just thought, right, where can I get some hot food for him right now? I couldn’t go home knowing there was someone out there going without, I had to make sure their belly was full. I’ll always buy food for people rather than give them money.
“I passed by Scorpio and decided to go in there and asked what they had ready to go straightaway. They had chips and doner meat so I had a portion of each, as well as a bottle of water, a can of pop and they even threw in a chocolate fudge cake.
“I asked how much and the man told me to just give him a fiver. I asked if he was sure because I was happy to pay the full amount, and he said ‘yes’.”
Scorpio Fast Food manager Rak Akhter, from Cobridge, says it is important for the business to help where it can.
“We told Lisa to just call it a fiver,” said 30-year-old Rak. “She was asking us how much it really was, saying she wanted to pay in full, but I just said, you have played your part, let us play ours.
“We have been in the community for a number of years now. It’s my uncle’s business and very much family-run, so we like to give back as and when we can. It’s how we have been brought up. We have to be humble and think about those who support us.”
The rough sleeper – who is in his 50s – turned down the chance to stay at the Premier Inn.
Rak added: “I offered to put him up for the night because it was absolutely freezing – but he said ‘no’.
“When I go to work I will be taking some hot water bottles which we will fill up and distribute to anyone sleeping rough. Then they are always welcome to come back to us and we will fill them back up.
“We don’t do this for the attention, our intentions are clear and we do it because it’s the right thing to do. It’s been a tough time just lately for a lot of people, and charity should always start at home.”
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Lisa has already praised the takeaway on social media – and received hundreds of positive responses.
She added: “It has just shown me that there are really kind, genuinely good people in our town and so many people want to help – it’s amazing.
“I have struggled before but I’ve been very lucky, so I know what it can be like. I know what that fear and vulnerability can be like.
“People are very quick to judge when they see someone is homeless, which isn’t right. Helping him was a very humbling experience, but it’s just how I am. I couldn’t have gone home and ignored it.”
Now Lisa is determined to get a roof over the man’s head.
She added: “Since Saturday I have been back to see the man, who is from Leek and has been homeless on and off for the past 30 years. He was smiling when I spoke to him and so grateful for everyone’s kindness and support. He looked so much better than he did on Saturday evening.
“He was so grateful and it was great to talk to him and introduce myself properly, and hear more about him. I told him I would be back because I’m disgusted with the lack of help available for him.
“I said I’d do my best to try to get him sorted and it won’t be the last time I see him. No-one should be homeless these days.”