Loyalty to the homeless

Every day at work when I go for my lunch, I pass by a homeless man outside of the local supermarket. Inside that same supermarket, there is a vending area for hot drinks – tea, coffee, hot chocolate etc. The drinks are free for any regular customers of the supermarket who sign up to a loyalty card.

Having tried the drinks myself when friends have brought them back from their own lunch breaks, I have to say they’re pretty delicious; nothing cheap or with a nasty after-taste. Serious money has been invested into this ‘freebie’ for customers of this supermarket.

It always upsets me that big companies can easily run such promotions on food and drink, when there are homeless and, in cases, starving people in our locality.

I asked each of my colleagues, who often helped themselves to a hot drink at the courtesy of the supermarket in question if they would consider claiming their hot drinks and giving them to somebody else as an act of kindness. Ideally, the recipient would be the homeless man outside, but the act could serve anyone really; we must surely all pass countless people each day who could do with a RAOK. My plea was no surprise to my colleagues, as I’d already been on their case for ages anyway about collecting coffee stamps and stickers and giving completed cards away to those less fortunate. This was to be an extension of that act.

Taking matters further, I spoke to a member of senior staff at the supermarket, to see if they would consider offering one hot drink each day to any local homeless people who could really benefit from it – as an act of kindness on their part. They said no. As a result, I decided to boycott the supermarket, but before I did, I signed up to their loyalty scheme. I now proudly use my card each day when working to go and help myself to a complimentary hot drink – and I give it to someone in the town centre who looks like they need it more than I do.

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