Always There: A Stranger and Mindfump.

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I got to my late teens and I wanted to better myself, I’d completed Age of Empires 2 and I’d beaten my friends at Pro Evolution Soccer 4. But something deep down said I was worth more than this, I had more to offer the world. I didn’t know exactly what that was yet, but I felt this unknown offering should go to a country outside the UK. China was quickly chosen – maybe too quickly – and off I went, to teach.

Now this was just slightly before the invention of smartphones and common sense. So I headed off across the globe with no accommodation to go to, no name to look for, no contracted work and no other instructions. All I had was a number to call when I get to a certain location.

What should I care anyway? I was 18, full of life, and I knew stuff*. I had lots to offer the world and nothing was going to get in my way. I felt up until that point I had been misunderstood, and underestimated. I feel there is a certain talent to be found in all of us and it should be shared and embraced. I could show the world what I could become, who I really am. I am not this shy skinny boy from northern England, who had just dropped out of university. I will be someone.

Needless to say after about a week I was a blubbering skinny northern boy who wanted his mum.

Unfortunately for me there was now 6 thousand miles between me and my mum. This wasn’t in the plan, and I’d never had to think on my feet before. I was just a skinny northern English boy, what did I know?

So I hastily headed across southern China to Hong Kong International Airport – the one built on water*. I get to the airport, and my subconscious must of been a little more sceptical of my ambitions prior to leaving for China, as I’d booked a flexi-ticket. Perfect, I can get on any Virgin flight – as long as there is a seat available.

I get to the airport and to the Virgin desk, I explain my situation and they advise me that unfortunately another airline that exclusively flew from Hong Kong to London has just gone bankrupt. Not only that Virgin have offered all of their passengers free seats on Virgin flights.

‘We are fully booked for a month, sir’ she said.

Gulp.

After a brief cry and a pancake, I gathered myself.  I remembered I had £500 saved for emergencies – this was an emergency. Naturally no tickets over the counter came close to to £500, so I found some free internet computer hubs – those ones with metal keyboards and a big metal ball as a mouse and Windows 98′. I head over to Expedia.com and find a flight leaving that night for £485 – I’m saved! Hurrah!

I should also note that despite my plight, I obviously hadn’t completely lost the plot. I’d actually seen an earlier flight on a different travel website, but it was £10 more and I’d have to pay £2.50 for using my debit card. Never wanting to miss out on a bargain I took the later flight on Expedia.

There was no printer however, but not to worry I had a pen and a hand. I wrote the relevant numbers on my hand and headed to the nicest restaurant in the airport to spend the £12.50 I’d saved. So that was it, all my money spent and I was well fed before my long journey home.

I get to the check in counter later that night and explain that I don’t have a ‘ticket’ but I do have the numbers they need.

‘We have no record of you on this flight’ she said.

Double Gulp.

It was the bank. The money. It was in a holding account due to the international payment raising suspicions – bottom line, the money wasn’t available for another week. I was now a shy skinny northern boy, in a country I didn’t know, gently weeping, as the realisation hit that I had no money, no ticket home and no other options.

As I am sat there on a bench weeping  an older gentleman walks over to me, he’s wearing a green blazer and cream trousers – very smart. He opens his mouth and I notice his South African accent immediately. He explained that Quantas had lost his luggage, but he had to wait around for a few hours incase they found it. I explained my situation and he listened intently.

He explained that I should remember this moment – remember the low points. That way as you climb the mountain in life, you can look back where you were and how you got to where you are now. He explained that the money I’d lost was not lost, but an investment in my future. It would help me grow in ways I probably won’t understand for a few years. He said you will go back as a man to the place you left only recently as a boy, and you will go back with something no one in your town could ever buy.

He then walked over to the nearest airline counter and asked for one ticket to London Heathrow, and with that, he was gone. No name, no details and no fanfare.

That was a time in my life when I was at my lowest. I had left the UK in what I now know was a deep depression, I was running. And when my issues caught up with me in China I knew. I knew then I had a problem. This man met me at one of the lowest points, mentally, and situationally in my life. He reached out and without any hesitation offered to help. These are the type of people we should celebrate.

As for the end of my story, well after sleeping rough in Hong Kong International Airport for 3 more days I finally got help from my parents and left. I ultimately refused the offer of help from the man, but the gesture was more than enough. Plus I didn’t want him stealing my air miles that sneaky f**ker.

Mindfump.

*I didn’t

*Check out a picture, it is pretty cool. 

P.S I am sure you have plenty of stories yourself of when friends and family have met you at your lowest. I sincerely hope to hear them, and I would love to send one of them a surprise gift as a small thank you on your behalf. Someone reached out to me once, I’d like to reach out to someone else. Pay it forward I think the term is. Click here to nominate someone.

 

 

Read more, its good for you.

Always There – Submissions Open!

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35 Comments

    1. Mindfump

      Very happy to hear you enjoyed it 🙂 I also enjoyed your post. It definitely touches on it. It would be great if you could pop something similar into a submission or even if you have a story of another person helping. Either way I really do like your blog and the offer of a guest post still stands.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Mindfump

      Thank you! I do agree, it always warms my heart when I hear other stories like that. I am trying to pass it on now, if you have a story about someone you know then please share and they could be sent a surprise 🙂 Check the collaboration page.

      Like

    1. Mindfump

      Thank you very kind as ever! I hi k he was 100% right. There have been a lot of instances where I’d think about what he said to get me through the next bit. Anyone who can make you think is alright by me.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Always Wanted to Fly

    Reblogged this on Always Wanted to Fly and commented:
    As I travel, not as far as China I may add, but from Brum to Wolves this tale has both tickled and made me want to hug someone. Only I’m on a train with strangers and they don’t look kindly at (most) people that do that sort of thing….. Especially late at night. Mindfump, oh dear Mindfump, please write a book. I know I would read not only for the chuckles but also for the comfort 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mindfump

      Brum to wolves is far more perilous than China though, what made you move to Wolves?? It is all backwards. My best friend is originally from Wolves. I think spontaneous hugging should be allowed, so in the words of Shia LeBouf – doooo it! haha you’re too kind, I think I need better reasons to kills trees than writing a book about me though.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Always Wanted to Fly

        Love assisted and fear for my sanity helped me move on again a number of years later, but thats a whole other chapter 🤗

        Always up for hugging unless I’m being particularly grumpy, not often luckily *sends virtual hug*

        I’d love you to write a book, digital versions are just as accessible, as you would at least one reader in me and whoever else I can bore with my constant talking about your writing *apparently, I’m doing that A LOT lately*

        Liked by 1 person

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