So - amid all the Christmas shoppers we spotted the prone body of a young man lying in a Corporation plant bed. He was deathly white and apparently not breathing and had no shoes on. I called the police and an ambulance. People with me said not to give my name or address. Why? Nobody else was stopping. I called over a lad skate-boarding near-by to explain to the emergency services our exact location. He looked at at the 'body' and shrugging said it looked like an overdose. Then at last someone else did stop who had medical training and was able to detect the faintest breath. Just as we heard the sirens, the young man's eyes fluttered open and he staggered to his feet. Still looking like death he stumbled off despite our pleas to wait for an ambulance. He looked at me - terrifyingly it was a stare of pure malevolence. Some one said he had been 'acting', the skateboarder said he was a nutter, the police said we'd done the right thing and went off into the crowds to try and find him. I was left very shaken.
Later on the way home, after the shops were closed, we heard and then saw a few members of the Sally Army, all uniformed off with their shiny brass instruments. They were randomly playing carols on a deserted street corner to absolutely no one and I couldn't see a collecting tin in sight. They shouted Merry Christmas as they moved off, still playing. They cheered me up but of course their main mission is to help people like the lad we found. http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk.