Bus driver’s kindness to strangers lifts spirits

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Stephen Humphris with Faris Khalifa. Pic © Faris Khalifa

Stephen Humphris with Faris Khalifa. Pic © Faris Khalifa

Local businesses have donated gifts to an Arriva bus driver to thank him for his kindness towards the homeless in Liverpool.

Stephen Humphris stopped his number 86 bus on its route into town to ask a bystander to give a £5 note to a homeless man on the other side of the street.

Faris Khalifa, a 27-year-old guitar player, took the money from Mr Humphris and passed it to the elderly man who was sitting on the footpath in the rain on Hanover Street.

Wanting to repay Mr Humphris’ kindness, Mr Khalifa contacted a few businesses in Liverpool city centre to ask if they would be willing to help him return the good spirits he witnessed on the bus.

Faris told JMU Journalism: “The response I got from local businesses was jaw-dropping. Everyone, without hesitation, donated some really cool things.”

A bottle of rum from The Jacaranda, two memberships and a bar tab from Independent Liverpool, and a voucher for dinner for two and a bottle of wine from Mr Miyagi’s on Bold Street are among some of the gifts donated to Mr Humphris.

Stephen told JMU Journalism that his time as an infantry soldier made him realise how easy it can be for ex-servicemen and women to suffer from mental health problems and end up on the street.

He said: “I was fortunate enough to have loved ones to help me as I struggled with adjusting to civilian life. A lot of people don’t have that support.

“I don’t believe in just walking past people in difficult situations when we can do something small to help.”

Faris contacted Stephen on Facebook and asked to meet with him with the intent of giving him the generous gifts, but before he could Mr Humphris had a further compassionate act for the homeless community of Liverpool.

Mr Khalifa said: “He shows up and before I even say anything, he asks me if I’m going to town, hands me his old army sleeping bag and asks me to give it to someone who needs when I get there.

“This was the second time he nearly made me cry. This ex-army, married father-of-one is the embodiment of what this city is.”

About Jenny Kirkham, JMU Journalism