• Ben Westwood

Can you help me find this family from Plantation, Florida? #RunawayReunion

Updated: Jun 19


(Part two of this will be written soon. I've found the family! Thanks everyone for sharing this. I can't wait to explain.)

Before I self published Poems From a Runaway at the latter end of 2017, I emailed various news and radio stations to find a family that I wrote about in my book. I'll post the poem below this article, but in a nutshell I met a really kind-hearted family one day whilst I was living rough on Piccadilly at around fourteen years old. For the many that don't already know my story, I slept rough on Piccadilly as a young teenager for quite some time from the age of thirteen having frequently ran away to London as a young teenager.


You can find out more in this following news piece done by WSVN news.

Source - WSVN 7news article - https://wsvn.com/news/special-reports/runaway-reunion/



I'd really love to give them a copy of this book, in a world where I met so many different people they might wonder why what they did stood out for me so much, but it just felt a really beautiful meeting and it would absolutely make my day to be able to speak with them just at least once more to say thank you for those few days. However like everyone I met in those days, because I was a runaway living on the streets of London - I would have told them I was anything between seventeen to nineteen years old although they may have had their suspicions that I was much younger, I'm not sure. What do I remember about the family? The daughter in the family would be around my age or perhaps a year or two older (I'm 33) - her name possibly may have been Melanie or something like that and she was part of her school wrestling team, and I remember blondish hair. The son would be around thirty years old I would guess, and if I remember rightly, maybe darker hair. The mother of the family may have had short hair at the time but there's a chance I could be confusing memories.

The vacation was actually a business trip the father of the family was on and the rest had came along to see London.


How can you help?


To help massively improve my chances of finding this family to give them a copy of my book and a lovely letter you could share this very blog page on social media.

Better still if you happen to be on Twitter - you could retweet the following tweet with the hashtag #RunawayReunion which will save you copy and pasting links :)





If you think you may know who this family are or think you may be one of the people in this story or any of my others, then feel free to get in touch at benwestwooduk@gmail.com


For more information on Poems From a Runaway click the 'My Book' tab at the bottom of this website.


Massive thanks for taking the time to read this and for any and all of you that share and support this post to help make this reunion possible, Big Love from the UK.



THE FAMILY FROM PLANTATION


Another morning near Green Park, I hadn’t got to sleep until day.

I opened my eyes, and to my surprise, a kid dropped a food bag by my way.


“I’ve brought you breakfast” the young lad then said, in an American voice he had spoken.

“Thanks a lot kid” I then replied, it was a nice way to be awoken.


Come the next day the young lad came again, this time with his sister too.

Again with some food in a brown paper bag, and once again I said “Thank you.”


“That’s nice of you mate” I then further add,

“No worries” he then replied.

They both then made their way, so I picked up the bag and had taken a quick look inside.


The same as before, a hot chocolate and muffin,

that was a nice thing I had thought.

Someone’s done right, in keeping them bright,

you can tell by the way they’ve been taught.



I enjoy my breakfast - the taste of the chocolate,

and this muffin seems to go down nice too.

And not too long after I make my way,

through the streets looking for something to do.


By the end of night - or most probably morning -

I go back to Tokyo Joes door.

And then later that day, I’d seen the kids again,

with their folks that I’d not seen before.


They went and they got me a sandwich and cuppa,

from the sandwich shop just up the way.

And after I thanked them, they said that they would probably see me again later that day.


And later I seen them, I met all the family,

and they took me back to their hotel.

I didn’t stay long, but the good vibes were strong,

and they let me have a shower as well.


I know back then I was lost in my own world, chaotic as my life was too.

But you never forget, when you meet the good souls that make a great impact on you.


Because most of my days I’m just doing my thing,

and watching out for those that see me as prey.

And it’s not all the time that you just know folk are fine, that you find come into your day.


But I’d fibbed with my story, like I’d always done,

and said I was nineteen years old.

And that I’d been kicked out from the home of my folks, the same story that I’d always told.


One day the mother had given me some money,

to buy myself some new clothes to wear.

And after I brought them I went straight back,

to the hotel to show them there.


A brief feeling of normal, away from the madness,

you’d be surprised how strange it can seem.

When you’ve been so far away, and that sort of day

is now a long deep distant dream.



We kept crossing paths when I was sat by Green Park, they all seemed to just be so freely.

It wasn’t that often there’d be that kind of connection, with good caring folk around me.

Always nice vibes, they had positive love, beaming from each every one.

And on the last day the mother had said, to come and see them before they had gone.


I’d just about caught them oddly enough, right before their cab had come.

Outside the hotel, with all their packed bags, and I said goodbye to them all and the mum.


She went on to say that seeing the sights, was something that she’d now forgot.

And that us lot meeting, and them helping me, seemed worth much more than the lot.


Some tears rolled down her face as she spoke, and then soon the taxi pulled up.

They put in their stuff and before they got in, all of them wished me good luck.


I said my goodbyes to all of the family, and watched the cab drive up the road.

And it took many years to appreciate, the true

warmth and kindness they had showed.


It’s what I had needed, with being only human, and having kept running from care.

I’d made myself lonely, living like I was homeless, with not much normal love there.



Many acquaintances for short-lived moments, but not many that I’d call a friend.

There wasn’t much normal living this life, on the streets of the West End.


I just want to say a really big thanks, to the family that came from Plantation.

I’ll never forget you four in a million, you’re really a true inspiration.


A big ray of light in a world full of weirdness, you loved unconditionally free.

Believe it or not, you’ve etched in a page,

within the life memory of me.



#RunawayReunion #Plantation #Florida #holiday #vacation #London #hotel #Miami #Findingpeople #WSVN #7news #FortLauderdale

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