I see the man every day as I pass him on the bus.

He sits outside a well-known shop, on a chair, with a blanket covering him – his two small dogs lying at his feet.

He sells the Big Issue.

His eyes look so sad. Desperate.

I often wonder about his story: Why he’s there. Where his family are. I wonder if someone out there loves him.

The other day, I saw him again from the bus window.

I got off the bus and headed into a shop. I had decided I wanted to buy a new hat for myself. As I wandered around the shop, my fingers trailing the clothes and accessories, my thoughts kept returning to the man and his two small dogs, sitting in the cold.

Buying a hat suddenly seemed so pointless. I didn’t even need a new hat.

I left the store and walked towards the man.

He looked up at me.

I smiled.

He smiled.

I asked him if I could buy his dogs something to eat.

He nodded.

I asked him if I could buy him something to eat.

He nodded.

His name is George.

He stays in a hostel a long way from where he sells the Big Issue. It’s the only ‘pitch’ he could get, so he makes the journey each day. “That’s just how it is”, he told me.

I didn’t ask about his story.

Maybe one day we’ll talk more.

I’ll tell him my story and he’ll tell me his.

Under the cover of our differences, we’re all the same in the end, aren’t we?