A Midnight Adventure: It All Started with Helping a Homeless Woman in Need

By: Mia Williams | Published: Jan 02, 2023

Do you walk past homeless people on the street? Perhaps you give them some money but never bother to talk to them? Both of these approaches are understandable. However, the article you’re about to read demonstrates that a lot can be gained from connecting with those who have fallen on hard times. After all, they are people too, with lives and experiences that might surprise and awe you.

Getting back to the article – a young Welshman’s night out took an unexpected turn when he approached a homeless woman with an unusual question. He couldn’t believe how friendly and sweet she was. However, things weren’t quite what they seemed. 

Meet Jonathon Pengelly

Jonathon Pengelly, the Welshman in question, can be spotted from a crowd thanks to his crooked grin and the playful glint in his eye. He’s a typical young adult who likes to go out and have fun with his pals.


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His social life revolves around going out with his party-loving buddies, playing games, eating, and dancing the night away. Though all-night adventures weren’t unusual for the Welshman, he was about to dive into something few adults ever get to experience. Indeed, his life was dramatically transformed.

You’re about to uncover why his evening took such a dramatic turn.


Completely Unaware

When you head out at night, it’s inevitable that you’ll get hungry at some point. But since most restaurants don’t stay open round-the-clock, there are limited options for midnight meals.


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Jonathon and his travel companions returned from a day of sightseeing in Cardiff, Wales, and settled at McDonald’s for dinner. The food was cheap, but the convenience and speed of delivery were the most prominent selling points for the small crew that night.

They were blissfully unaware that their night was only getting started.

The Adventure Begins at McDonald's

Customers who have been out socializing and are seeking to wind down can visit a fast-food restaurant at any time of the day or night. These brightly-lit establishments are open at all hours to accommodate our needs.


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When Jonathon and his friend decided to dine at McDonald’s, it was the weekend. So they knew the restaurant would be busy. However, the line was held up for more reasons than just the fact that it was full.

Something else was going on – something that would draw Jonathon into one of the strangest nights of his life.

The Cause of the Delay

Everybody, including Jonathon, craned their necks to see what was causing the holdup. Finally, he saw it – a homeless woman was trying to place an order, but the employees were reluctant to help her.


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Jonathon deduced that the cashier’s refusal to help the homeless woman was probably due to the fact that she didn’t believe she could afford to feed herself. Curious, Jonathon was eager to learn the truth.

That was when he discovered that the homeless woman wasn’t ordering food at all.

A Seemingly Innocent Request

Jonathon gave the conversation his full attention and learned that the woman was only interested in water. Unfortunately, since she hadn’t ordered any food, the employees were technically not supposed to give her free water. Rules are rules, but in this case, the woman was being denied a fundamental human right. Aren’t all businesses supposed to provide free water on request?

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Disappointed that she couldn’t get her hands on the water she so desperately needed, the woman walked out the door into the freezing weather. Jonathon followed her out.


An Offer to Help

Jonathon approached her and politely inquired as to whether or not he might be of assistance. He was worried about her welfare and wanted to help the woman get through the night, so he offered her more than just water. She could have anything she wanted from the menu. 

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She didn’t respond at first, and Jonathon was taken aback by how closed off she was. However, he concluded that she might be wary since most people seemed to treat her harshly. 

In a moment, you’ll learn how modest this homeless woman’s response was.


A Cheeseburger 

The lady tentatively indicated that she would appreciate a cheeseburger. Jonathon was certain that she would ask for a whole lot more than a cheeseburger, so he asked her once more what she was craving.

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After he insisted on giving her more, the homeless lady asked if they could also get a meal for her friend. Jonathon was touched by the woman’s thoughtful request, and he decided to repay the charity with his own act of surprise by taking them both in to eat at McDonald’s.


A Feast at McDonald’s

Jonathon and his buddies each purchased as much food and drink as they were able to carry. Although they were covering the cost of supper for their new acquaintances, the more essential goal was to make a positive difference in the lives of the two ladies who were living on the streets.

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After making the food purchases, they sat down for a family-style meal with the homeless women on the sidewalk. They ate together as a group. Soon enough, the ladies started telling their tales.


Accustomed to Criticism

Polly was the name of the homeless lady who had been denied a drink from McDonald’s. After many years on the streets, she had learned the hard way how callous many people can be. Her stories were truly heartbreaking. 

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The most painful element was not the rejection itself but the way they were stared at and insulted whenever they weren’t ignored. Jonathon was stunned not by the lack of humanity of others but by the personalities of the ladies involved.


Not What He Expected

There’s a common misconception that homeless people are all uneducated and unmotivated, but Jonathon and his buddies understood otherwise. Still, they were surprised to learn about the women’s backstories. 

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In an interview with The Sun newspaper, Jonathan said, “When I got to speak to them, I was genuinely shocked at their story and how educated they were. So full of life and enthusiasm, and they literally have nothing!” Although external circumstances may have led these women to the streets, the hard times didn’t change who they were.

Jonathon was so inspired by their moral fiber that he resolved to do something nice for them again. However, his idea was a little controversial.


An Invitation

He invited the women into his home so they could clean up and enjoy some time off the streets. His buddies all thought it was a good idea, but do you think Jonathon did the right thing? 

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Few people stop to think how strange a house might seem after years of rough sleeping. However, it’s also true that someone who has experienced homelessness appreciates the comforts of shelter more fully than most of us do. So, of course, Polly and her buddy agreed with joy.


Clean Again

Polly and her buddy arrived at Jonathon’s place and, after being shown to the bathroom, promptly proceeded to clean themselves up. They were understandably delighted by this unexpected turn of events. After a long day, they were able to enjoy a shower, clean their teeth, and appreciate the relief that comes with a clean body.

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Sadly, hygiene is a noticeable element that separates homeless people from others. However, this is only because they lack the resources to remain as clean as they’d like to be. Where other people might have seen something fearful, Jonathan saw the women’s inner beauty and decided to help them reveal it. 

While they showered, Jonathon prepared his final gift.


A Bag Full of Treats

Jonathon prepared some more offerings while the ladies showered. He didn’t have the resources to completely transform their lives, but he wanted to give them anything he could think of that would help them survive and improve their station in life.

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Jonathon was so kind to the two ladies, treating them with the humanity that, sadly, many people failed to offer them. He provided something to eat, a place to shower, and enough food and supplies to last a few days.


Saying Adieu… for Now

This picture was taken on the night Jonathon and Polly first met. The glow on her face betrays her heartfelt appreciation for the young man. His facial expression reveals how profoundly these ladies affected him.

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He gave Polly and her companion some boxed food he had prepared and some warm blankets and pillows. The women’s batteries were refreshed, and their spirits were lifted by this genuine gesture of kindness.

Jonathan’s next move was a little unusual – he contacted McDonald’s.


Facebook Was His First Stop 

Because of his favorable encounter with Polly and her companion, Jonathon naturally felt an intense drive to defend them. He posted a lengthy account of the event on Facebook, including the fact that Polly was denied a glass of water at McDonald’s.

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“I don’t know what was going through [the cashier’s] mind, but a lady, clearly homeless, was asking for a basic human right, and for a multi-billion pound company, for them to say no, is disgusting!” Jonathan pulled no punches in letting McDonald’s management know what he thought. 


Public Interest Was Piqued

The internet was moved by Jonathon’s sincere message, which quickly went viral. McDonald’s has been under fire before, so a response was warranted. Does the fast food chain value money over basic human rights?

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While some people would not care whether a homeless person was mistreated, Jonathon’s experience provided a model that more soft-hearted folk could follow. Many people, moved by his account, made a big enough deal out of Polly being denied a glass of water that caught the media’s attention.

Let’s see how McDonald’s responds to the allegation.


The McDonald’s Defence

Given the subject’s widespread interest, media outlets expressed an interest in hearing McDonald’s side of the tale. An official representative guaranteed that there was no bias against the homeless in the organization’s practices.

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McDonald’s claimed that everybody is welcome, regardless of whether they have fallen on hard times or not. The representative claimed that most water requests are met. Her statement didn’t say giving water to anybody who asks is a policy, but it did say turning out a homeless person isn’t.

She suggested that Polly was refused service for another reason.


Polly’s Problem

The McDonald’s representative said that the cashier’s decision to decline to serve Polly was warranted. While she presented herself to Jonathon with a spirit of modesty, she was really on a police-approved list that prohibited her from entering McDonald’s.

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The spokeswoman continued by saying that the restaurant, along with others in Cardiff, Wales, was collaborating with the authorities to ban certain individuals for “illegal and antisocial behavior,” implying that Polly’s exclusion was the result of her having violated the law at some point in the past.


Giving Polly the Benefit of the Doubt

A McDonald’s representative may have informed the press that Polly’s legal infraction was the reason behind her ban, but reporters were skeptical since the official didn’t cite her transgression. Surely, if it was that bad, they would have revealed her crime in an effort to prove that their actions were warranted. 

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There are people who, like Jonathon, are stirred by compassion for the plight of the poor and will not rest until they find a way to help them. Some people are less fortunate than others, and the law often doesn’t come down on their side, despite the fact that they’re underprivileged and in desperate need.


Altering Personal Prejudice

Whether or not Polly’s exclusion from McDonald’s was warranted, her meeting with Jonathon shows her that not all homeless people are the same. Please don’t assume the worst of individuals simply because they are sleeping on the streets – they all have a unique story that led them where they are, and you may be surprised to learn how much you have in common with them.

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If we all recognized their unrealized potential and understood the circumstances that led them where they are, we could shun them less and help them more. In times of need, even the smallest gestures may go a long way toward alleviating their suffering.