“We come alone, we go alone. One thing we leave behind is how we treat people.” Is what Mick Jarnal, 60 told me. Not only is he a local business owner in my local village, but he also does a lot of work for the homeless in London, particularly the London Bridge area. And I caught up with him to find out despite his success and wealth. Why he helps people in the way he does.
Mick’s life like most was not an easy upbringing, a Sikh growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s Britain. From the age of 8 he went out to work as a paperboy, a grocery boy and he used to work in a wood yard, which stopped him from going to school.
Mick worked hard for his family, he worked hard to help his mum and dad out especially. “I didn’t have a wage packet for two years” as he saved up to help pay for his sisters wedding. He said, “I’ve never seen my Dad cry so much.” Mick has always been a strong believer in God, he told me “if you give you shall receive.” And he carried his belief in God and that message throughout his life.
Mick has worked multiple jobs to provide for his family, one, which includes being a doorman and working in the security industry for many years. He has worked events for the likes of Lenox Lewis and Frank Bruno, and once he had made enough money, he dived into property development. And then later Shop development and management.
When I asked Mick what it meant to him to provide a good life for his family, his response was startling. He said, “No different to anyone else.” He considers everyone his family. Mike Sullivan who works in one of Micks’ shops said, “He’s like a brother.” Mike also stated that Mick is “Highly respected” amongst the local community, which was evident through his campaign to become a councillor, and his leadership in the battle to prevent Nuxley Village from being pedestrianized.
Mick’s work with the homeless goes back to when he was young. Strongly fuelled by the belief in God. The people Mick has met and helped come with truly extraordinary stories, from the two young girls who ran away from Rochdale. To a young Muslim girl who ran away from home due to her family exiling her for going against their religion. Mick has always lent a helping hand.
Mick has gone as far to invite two homeless people for Christmas dinner this year, a truly generous thing to do. Which I’m sure will be well appreciated. As well as handing out gloves, hats and clothing to the growing London homeless population, as they prepare to face a harsh British winter.
Mick has personally had an affect on me, whenever I see him he always takes the time to talk to me, to educate me on important topics such as homelessness, and also how importance God can be in someone’s life. He always makes sure I am safe, and always offers me a safe space to come and talk if needs be.
Looking to the future, Mick has expressed his desire to carry on helping those in need, his family and fellow members of the community.