Big Issue Seller Marries Woman He Gave His Last 50p To
A Big Issue seller who went on to marry the woman he gave his last 50p to has said it was ‘the best money he’s ever spent’.
Jack Richardson, 41, met 51-year-old Toni Osborne in 2013 when she walked past him on a Bristol street and he asked her for some change. However, she quickly broke down in tears, telling Jack she had no money and couldn’t even afford to pay her electricity bill.
So Jack did the only thing he thought was right in that moment, and offered her his last 50p for the meter. She accepted, and a bond immediately formed between the pair.
In the weeks that followed, Jack and Toni struck up many more conversations as she passed him sitting in his usual spot, until one day he told her he’d been given his Big Issue badge, which allows him to sell the magazine.
From that point on, the pair grew closer as Toni walked past his patch every two weeks, and one year later, as Christmas 2014 approached, Toni offered to put him up in her flat after he told her the car park he’d been sleeping in was being boarded up.
‘I wouldn’t recommend to everybody to take a homeless stranger in,’ Toni joked while speaking on Real Fix, a podcast about extraordinary true stories. ‘But I felt drawn to him. There was something about him that felt safe.’
After that, the couple fell in love ‘insanely quickly’, and in December 2015 Jack got down on one knee in the exact spot they met and asked Toni to be his wife.
Although they initially planned a cheap registry office wedding, Jack’s customers soon found out and clubbed together to give the couple the wedding of their dreams, which they had in March 2016.
‘By the end of it, we had enough left over to buy a new bed, a new cooker – and a new pair of glasses each,’ Jack said.
Now, more than four years later, Jack and Toni are still madly in love, with Jack saying it’s the ‘first time he’s ever truly felt stable, grounded, rooted’.
He added, ‘Toni means so much to me – my entire life did a 180 that day. I couldn’t have had any conception of that day and how much of a difference that one choice would make. It was the best 50p I’ve ever spent in my life!’
Speaking of the impact their story has had, Toni said:
People have said to us it’s changed their minds and attitudes towards homeless people. That’s hugely reassuring. I just saw Jack’s homelessness not as who he was, but where he was at when I met him.
It wasn’t a reflection of him as a person. Speaking to him was the best thing I ever did.
What an incredible couple and an even more incredible journey.
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