Article by Simon Murfitt: When couple Charlotte Ellis and Taylor Waldon missed the last train back to Billericay after a night out in London they were understandably fed up to be stranded in the freezing cold.
But their misfortune ended up with them having an encounter that would change their lives.
While waiting out in the cold Charlotte heard a voice behind her, saying:
"You can borrow my coat and duvet if you want? It's a long wait and it's freezing tonight."
Charlotte, 22, jumped straight under the duvet and thanked the man for his kind offer - as boyfriend Taylor, also 22, gave her "the look".
After sitting and talking with the man, known only as 'Joey', Charlotte said she couldn't leave him out there on his own. She said:
"No one deserves to be out in these conditions. I'm not saying that you should trust everyone you meet on a street corner, but who exactly should you trust? I told Joey that I refused to leave without him - at first he declined in dismay at the offer of coming back home with my boyfriend and I to have a good night kip, a shower and shave and a good old meal. He thought I was joking. I really wasn't. It took Taylor to explain, 'if you don't come with us I'm not going to get her home' and Joey finally accepted. The couple got in a taxi and took Joey back to Charlotte's family home in Little Burstead where they "talked for hours, exchanged life stories and instantly became the best of friends".
Joey even offered Taylor the coat from his own back as a token of his appreciation.
Charlotte said she was initially concerned her mum would be "fuming" about her bringing a stranger back, but "as soon as she met him she understood why we had done what we had done. I knew she would understand."
"All my friends and family initially thought we were crazy and thought the worst. After we introduced them to Joey they all loved him instantly because he is honestly such a genuine guy. We have taken him for Indian (food), we have had his hair cut, we gave him a phone. My friends gave him a new wardrobe, they go play football, watch Django, the boys play Playstation, he helps my mum feed the horses and he has a roast dinner."
Charlotte also revealed that five days after meeting Joey, he had a job interview and gained employment.
The group of friends are currently in the process of helping him apply for his official documents, like a birth certificate and passport.
"We treat him as we would treat anyone else," Charlotte said.
"We have faith in him, we help him. But more importantly we give him our time and friendship. Just because someone is homeless it doesn't make them any less of a person than me or you and it doesn't mean that all homeless people are drug or alcohol abusers, not all homeless people should be instantly tarnished as bad people. They are just like me and you."
After writing about the experience on Facebook, Charlotte's post was shared thousands of times by touched social media users. Charlotte said:
"We're absolutely astonished and overwhelmed that my post went viral, all I hope is that people think to give people like Joey a little bit of their time. That's all I wish for."
Read original article by Simon Murfitt, Essex Live