As the rich executive walked to work from the underground station he would always pass the same homeless man, begging for change from the commuters. When the financial crash swept the country he had a breakdown, tried to commit suicide and found himself in a secure psychiatric hospital overlooking the area where the homeless man used to beg. He was now selling the Big Issue and making something of his life
He saw the homeless man in heaven and shouted to him, ‘Have some pity! Please bring me a cold glass of beer to sooth my tongue. I am in anguish here.’
But the street vendor said to him, ‘Remember that during your former life you had everything you wanted, and I had nothing. So now the tables are turned and you are in torment. And besides, there are many locked doors separating us. I can’t get to you and you can’t get to me.’
The former executive said, ‘Please, then, at least go to my brothers and warn them not to behave like me, so they don’t end up like this.’
The vendor replied, ‘All the religions warn people to be kind to the poor and their neighbours. Your brothers can read whichever holy book they like.’
‘But if someone who has turned their life around comes to speak to them, then they will change their ways and be more compassionate and less greedy and self-centred,’ he countered.
Before leaving for home the vendor said, ‘If they won’t listen to their own hearts, then they won’t listen to me, or even Jesus himself.’