This homeless man's love story will make you believe in fairytales again

By admin
21 March 2016

Three years ago, this Big Issue salesman asked a woman passing by for money. Now he’s now managed to turn his financial woes into romantic riches: by marrying her!

Three years ago, a Big Issue salesman asked a woman passing by for money. Now he’s now managed to turn his financial woes into romantic riches: by marrying her!

Jack Richardson (37) was selling the Big Issue magazine (a publication sold by homeless people) in Bristol in the UK in 2013, when he approached Toni Osborne (47) to ask her for some spare change. But instead of helping him out, she broke down into tears.

At the time, Toni – who’s unable to work because of health issues – told Jack she could not even afford to pay for her own electricity. In a show of goodwill, he ended up giving her 50 pence (R11.05) of his own money instead.  A budding romance ensued, and earlier this month the pair took the old adage: “For richer, for poorer,” to a whole new level: by saying their “I do’s”! Jack recalls their fateful meeting. “It was coming up to Christmas 2013 and I wandered up to this woman to ask her for money and she just burst into tears. She had bought everything ready for Christmas and thought she had saved enough money for the meter, but when she put it in it wasn’t enough. Read more: The heartbreaking moment a 92-year-old man sings love song to his dying wife "She was a couple of pennies away from spending Christmas in the dark. Even though I was begging, I gave her the 50p to put her lights back on.”

They began seeing each other every week, and eventually, their friendship blossomed into something more. Toni soon offered Jack a roof over his head, when the room in which he was sleeping in in an underground carpark was demolished. That’s when he says they "fell for each other head-over-heels". When Jack proposed last November at the exact spot where he’d first asked her for money, Toni said her “heart burst". Their “dream wedding” took place at St. Paul’s church in Bristol, and was funded solely by the kindness of strangers, after receiving numerous offers of help from the public who wanted to help the couple have a special day.

Well-wishes contributed money for Toni’s dress and even the couple’s wedding rings; some Big Issue customers baked cakes for the reception, and wine merchants, photographers, hairdressers and a vicar all offered their services for free. One man even offered to loan Jack an Armani suit for the ceremony!

Read more: Woman discovers her own FATHER living rough during homeless photography project

According to the groom: "I’m 10 miles high. I’m the proudest man on the planet. I’ve been humbled by people’s generosity. I wanted to give my beloved the wedding she deserved and I just wasn’t able to. Because of the kindness of everybody it’s made it real. I feel like I’m living in a fairytale.”

His bride added: “I love how it’s touched people’s hearts. We’ve had people say: ‘I never thought I’d fall in love but I heard your story and now it gives me hope for the future.’” While they can’t afford a honeymoon just yet, guests donated money so Jack could take some time off from selling the Big Issue to be with his new wife.

He says that meeting Toni “saved” him. “I was in a really bad place when I met Toni. I was having to beg every day just to get enough money for a night in a bed and breakfast. Every day used to be a struggle. I had considered ending my own life. I couldn’t see any way out of the situation and it just seemed to keep getting harder. I couldn’t see any future. But now I have someone stable who I love and who loves me. I’m able to look to the future.”

Jack is now studying for an Open University degree in psychology and sociology, and hopes to help people get off the streets when he graduates. He says he’s happier now with Toni, than he’s ever been.

They soon began seeing each other every week, and eventually, their friendship blossomed into something more. PHOTO: Facebook They soon began seeing each other every week, and eventually, their friendship blossomed into something more. PHOTO: Facebook

“When we first met I was sleeping in a car park but she saw past that. She made a human connection. My mum died when I was 13 and I was put into care.

"I’ve suffered from severe depression and, to be honest, I didn’t think I had it in me any more to feel good. I haven’t been this happy in all of my adult life.”

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