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‘It’s a Christmas miracle’: Big Issue vendor returns lost purse to customer on Christmas Day

Yukiko Hosomi said she was “speechless” after her lost purse was delivered to her door on Christmas Day 24 hours after she lost it while shopping.

A woman who lost her purse during a last-minute Christmas shopping trip was left stunned when a Big Issue vendor returned it to her door on Christmas Day.

Yukiko Hosomi, 46, noticed she’d lost the purse while out shopping on Bristol’s North Street and resigned herself to never seeing it again.

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But she received a knock on her door at 5pm on Christmas Day when Big Issue vendor Ioan Covaci, who sells the magazine outside McColl’s on the Bristol street, sent his son to return the purse.

Big Issue vendor returns purse
Hosomi told The Big Issue she was inspired to give back afer the Big Issue vendor’s selfless gesture. Image: Yukiko Hosomi

The show of kindness has inspired human resources analyst Hosomi to raise funds for The Big Issue Foundation to support vendors through the sale of her hand-made face masks. She said the gesture of goodwill had “rekindled her faith in kindness”.

“I was a bit sad because it was Christmas Eve and I was like: ‘Oh my god’, it’s not the kind of thing you want happening at Christmas,” Hosomi told The Big Issue.

“I’m Japanese and my mum in Japan told me whenever she loses her purse it just comes back but I was sure that in the UK there would be no way it would come back.

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“We had just settled down on Christmas Day when somebody knocked on the door. I was thinking: ‘Who is coming to my house on Christmas?’”

“I was just completely speechless. I just couldn’t believe it. It was like: ‘Wow’. I felt the Christmas miracle happened to me for a reason and my faith in kindness has been rekindled.”

Hosomi told The Big Issue the vendor’s son refused to accept a reward for the kind gesture but she has since visited the vendor on his pitch to say thank you.

Covaci, 52, said she later gave him a £30 reward.

He told The Big Issue he saw the purse on the floor outside the Post Office so he picked it up and held onto it on his pitch in case the owner returned to look for it.

Big Issue vendor Ioan Covaci
Big Issue vendor Ioan Covaci came to Hosomi’s rescue and returned the purse in a Christmas Day surprise. Image: The Big Issue

But when no one claimed it, Covaci decided to return the purse after finding an address on Hosomi’s driving licence.

He sent his son to do the 10-mile journey to return the purse on Christmas Day.

“I’m happy that I could do something noble on Christmas Day,” said Covaci, who has sold The Big Issue for 10 years. “I kept thinking there are so many documents and cards in this purse that she must be worried and that’s when I’ve decided the easiest way to do this is to return her purse to her home address.

“I felt very content with my decision. My children speak English very well and we’ve said: ‘Let’s do a kind gesture this Christmas and go to her house’.

Big Issue vendor returns lost pursre
Hosomi is now selling handmade face masks to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation to support Big Issue vendors. Image: Yukiko Hosomi

“The lady was so happy and she hugged my son when he returned the purse. I think this definitely made her Christmas Day a lot better.”

The festive gesture has sparked a new effort to help Big Issue vendors around the country as she has vowed to raise money for The Big Issue Foundation, The Big Issue’s charitable arm.

Hosomi started sewing face masks at the start of the pandemic after initially picking up the hobby in her native Japan.

Now she is offering to send out hand-made masks or hand-deliver them in Bristol in exchange for a donation to The Big Issue Foundation.

“I’m guessing that the vendor is not in a great financial position which is why he’s probably trying to make a living by selling the magazine,” said Hosomi.

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“It’s always this kindness that comes from the people who haven’t got that much. That has made me completely overwhelmed and I still feel overwhelmed.” 

To buy a mask and donate to The Big Issue Foundation, head to Yukiko’s JustGiving page.

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