Charlotte Ellis and boyfriend Taylor Waldon, both aged 22, were on their way home from a night out in Covent Garden, London, when they realised the train station gates were closed and, in their “drunken state”, they had missed their change to get back.
Realising the station wouldn’t open for another four hours, they waited out in the cold weather.
But then 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 says she jumped straight under the duvet and thanked the man for his kind offer – as boyfriend Taylor gave her “the look”.
After sitting with the man, known only as ‘Joey’,Charlotte says 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.
DISTRESSING: LAST MOMENTS OF MAN WHO DIED ON FREEZING STREET
“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 Billericay, Essex, 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 says 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.”
She told Mirror Online: “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 give (sic) him a phone, my friends give him a new wardrobe, they go play football, watch Django, the boys play playstation, he helps my mum feed the horses, 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 received hundreds of shares from touched social media users.
Charlotte told Mirror Online: “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 I wish for.”