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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Four Months Of Buying Coffee For A Homeless Man - All Worth It For This One Moment


Lee Houghton befriended Simon after seeing him on the streets in Norwich - and Simon's small gesture of thanks will melt your heart.

Every morning, Lee Houghton buys a cup of coffee for Simon - a homeless man he met while on his way to work one morning.

The pair became good friends, chatting each morning before Lee heads to work in his job as a business analyst, and Simon begins his job as a Big Issue vendor.

After four months of buying coffee and croissants for Simon during his morning walk to work in Norwich, Lee received something back in return - and it pulled on the heart strings.

Simon had written Lee a Christmas card to thank him for his help and encouragement (and his caffeine-based support).

"A big thank you for your support. Merry Christmas, from Simon." Lee says he was overwhelmed by the card, and explained to the Mirror why he tries to make time each day to pop into Pret, grab a coffee, and have a chat with Simon.


"It's nice to talk, he hasn't got many friends. It makes me feel good to do that, and just have a chat with him.

"He looked a bit cold when I first saw him, so I asked him if he wanted coffee. 

"Simon has nowhere to live, so he's sleeping on the streets, which pulls on the heartstrings. 

"He does currently have a job as a Big Issue seller, but he's had a rough childhood, he said he was trying to hold down a job he was offered, but he doesn't have any education so he got let go."

After hearing Lee's story, we asked him to snap a picture with Simon... and his crazy Christmas hat.

We'll be helping Lee out with the cost of coffee and croissants throughout Christmas for Simon, and Lee hopes his actions might inspire others to do similar things.

Lee says that Pret A Manger recently gave him a free gift card in order to help him out with grabbing coffee for Simon.

“We were moved by Lee’s actions and the card from Simon. This Christmas, we’re hoping to raise a record amount for homeless charities thanks to the generosity of all our customers,” said Nicki Fisher, Head of Pret Foundation Trust. 

The company has a long track record in helping the homeless, and at the end of the day the company's unsold food is donated to homeless charities, in fact, 2.7 million unsold Pret sandwiches and salads were given to the homeless last year. 

In 2013 Pret raised over £1.2million, of which £331,000 was raised during the Christmas period. 

Lee's message to anyone reading: "Best wishes and merry Christmas." 

Right back at you, Lee!

Photo: Lee Houghton

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