Man comes to the aid of 'homeless woman refused cup of water' at Cardiff McDonald's

'If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! Spare a little thought!'

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The Independent Online

A man has described how a "shattering" encounter with a woman, who he said was homeless and refused a cup of hot water at a McDonald's restaurant in Cardiff, has "changed" him for the better. 

Jonathon Pengelly, from Cardiff, was queuing in his local branch of the fast food chain early on Sunday morning after a night out, when he said he saw a staff member refuse to serve the woman water. 

"I don't know what was going through their 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!" said Mr Pengelly, in a Facebook post that has garnered more than 180,000 likes and been shared over 40,300 times. 

"My heart was shattered!" said Mr Pengelly, who, shocked by the incident, said he intervened and told the woman to order what she wanted. 

"I spoke to her and told her to order what she wanted, expecting her to order everything. I was so shocked. She asked for a single cheese burger and that was it."

Instead, Mr Pengelly bought "as much as we could carry" and sat with the woman, who gave her name as Polly, on the pavement to eat it. 

On Wednesday, McDonald's told The Independent that the woman had been banned from the McDonald's store in Cardiff. 

“There is no McDonald’s policy to ban or refuse to serve homeless people. Working with the local police, our Cardiff stores have had to ban a number of individuals due to illegal and anti-social behaviour which is why this individual was denied entry to the store.” 

Mr Pengelly said "I couldn't just leave this lady go, she was so warming and so lovely," and invited Polly and her friend to his home, where he cooked her more food to last for the coming nights. 

Polly and her friend also brushed their teeth and had showers at Mr Pengelly's house. "They both said they had never felt so appreciated in their life," he said. 

"I was genuinely shocked at [Polly and her friend’s] story and how educated they were! So full of life and enthusiasm and they literally have nothing!" Mr Pengelly wrote. 

“I'm no saint, but this small act of kindness cost me about £20. I know 90% of people reading this will earn about 10 times that a day.

“It costs nothing to be kind, and I genuinely hope people share this to raise awareness of homelessness throughout the UK!

“If you see someone on the streets, don't look down on them like they're nothing. You don't know what they've been though! Spare a little thought!”

“Polly, you’ve changed me”

Mr Pengelly says he and Polly have spoken on the phone and he has given her blankets, pillows and a backpack full of food. "I've promised her that she will never go hungry or cold again!" he said. 


Homelessness in England has risen by a third in the past year, with 3,569 people estimated to have been sleeping rough on any one night of 2015, figures from the communities department revealed earlier this year.

Overall, homelessness has risen by 102 per sent since 2010, the figures showed.