A homeless busker who lost everything has been hailed for showing true Christmas spirit – after handing in a lost purse stuffed with cash and bank cards.
Alan Dent, 69, showed inspiring honesty after the purse was dropped on Market Street in Manchester city centre, near where he entertains passers-by by playing his recorder.
The purse, containing the cards and £70 cash, was dropped by mum-of-one Sandy Sharples.
Alan resisted any temptation to help himself to a few much-needed pounds and, having noticed that the purse was owned by a Barclays bank customer, he handed it in to a nearby branch.
Now Sandy has met Alan to thank him for his honesty – and said she had been ‘incredibly moved’.
Alan said: “Sandy said she had often passed by me and it was last week that she stopped to chat and give me some money.
“It was only later that I noticed the purse lying on the pavement. I looked inside and saw she was a Barclays customer, so I went into the branch to hand the purse in to the clerk. I have a good reason for handing it in, and that is because I am a spiritual person.
“Apparently the manager said Sandy was overjoyed to have it back. It’s very nice of her to come to say thank you.”
Insurance worker Sandy, 43, from Stretford, rewarded Alan’s honesty with a cash gift.
She said: “This lovely, kind gentleman has made me believe in Father Christmas and the Christmas spirit all over again.
“It has all moved me incredibly. A person who clearly needs money handed in money. I want to thank Alan and he deserves a wonderful Christmas. He has the kindest face and he looks a bit like Santa. He is my Mr Kringle and sums up the spirit of the season.”
Alan has been homeless since he was evicted from his house in Whalley Range in 2007.
He lives at temporary accommodation in Gorton and is a well-known figure on his busking pitch.
He said: “I’ve been homeless for five years – that’s five years too long. I think most people think the homeless are all alcoholics or drug users, or that they have mental health problems or have been a guest at Her Majesty’s pleasure.
“That’s not me, I’ve just not had the best luck.”
Sandy, who volunteers for homeless charity, Lifeshare, had popped out to do some Christmas shopping last and stopped to chat to Alan.
She hopes his incredible honesty will inspire shoppers to do their bit to help the homeless over Christmas.
She said: “Most of the time people just walk right past. Now I’ll never pass Alan without giving him a little something.
“He is of no fixed abode and we had a really good chat. He had the chance to be £70 better off but he wanted to do the right thing. He has just made me feel incredibly good and I want to thank him publicly.
“I am going to thank him and help him however I can. I have told all my friends and they are going to help as well.”