Years ago, it must have been around tea time, Tony came into the house with a young teenager. The boy who was about fifteen, was bleeding quite heavily from several cuts to his face. Tony had intervened in a fight, two kids against one, which had been taking place on the bridge over the railway by our home. The older boys were punching the young man in the face so that they could steal his snooker cue. Tony saw them off.
Sitting the boy down, I quickly fetched a bowl of hot water and some clean towels from the kitchen and asking Tone to call an ambulance, started to wipe the blood from the boy`s face. It must have been the nineties because I remember thinking I really should be protecting my skin with some rubber gloves because of HIV and then thinking “bugger that” and carrying on cleaning up his face. It quickly became apparent that the boy was deaf and dumb but by hand gestures and writing we found out who he was and contacted his family to let them know what had happened.
I`m not sure how the offenders were tracked down by the police but some months later Tony was called to give evidence in court. In their defence, the two young men who had beaten up our boy said that they had been provoked by some racist comments he had shouted at them. Of course they did not know at that time that the boy could not speak and so only dug themselves into a deeper hole. They were each sentenced to a term in prison and the judge awarded Tony £65 for his bravery. There was even a small piece in the Birmingham Evening Mail saluting our hero.
Co-incidentally during those few summer months, Tony had been pulled over by the police and subsequently found to be driving on a Provisional Licence. On the very same day he was awarded £65 for being brave, he was fined £65 for being irresponsible. Some people may call it his karma for driving whilst unqualified but I prefer to reverse the situation and look upon it as serendipity.
To conclude my tale, all of which is true, some years later Tone was sitting down enjoying a pint up at The Great Western pub. Two fellows walked in and strolling up to the bar they ordered a drink. Tony immediately recognised one of them as the main man who beat up our boy all those years ago. Unfortunately for Tone the man also recognised him and began to walk across the lounge floor towards our intrepid hero. Tony thought, “oh s**t” as you would and prepared for the worst. To his surprise the man sat down beside him and holding out his hand he said, “You`re the fella who put me in nick aren`t you?” Tony nodded his head. The man continued, “Well put it there mate, going to prison was the best thing that could have happened to me, I want to say thank you.”
He explained to Tony that he had being going down a very bad path and that when he went inside, for the first time in his life he studied and achieved two A levels. He went on to take Teaching English as a Foreign Language. When he came out of prison he met a lovely girl and together they went to work in Japan for two years where they taught English to Japanese children. He said his life had never been more on track and it would never have happened had it not been for our Tone, taking him to task, all that time ago.
Everything happens for a reason. 🙂