A street beggar from Edinburgh has revealed the "incredible act of kindness" by a pair of Swedish tourists, who invited him over to their home for Christmas. Jimmy Fraser was begging on George Street in the Scottish capital when Annis Lindkvist and her sister Emma approached him for directions.
They struck up a friendship and exchanged phone numbers before flying back home. Fraser told the BBC Scotland news website: "The next thing I knew I was on a plane to Sweden."
The 54-year-old Scotsman said that Annis Lindkvist purchased a passport for him and paid his air fare so he could spend a week over Christmas with her family. The LIndkvists live in Sagmyra, a small town in southern Sweden with 546 inhabitants.
Fraser lives in a flat in Edinburgh. Originally from Lanark, he moved to Edinburgh 13 years ago after becoming homeless following a divorce.
Fraser used to be employed as a security guard and is a father of two. He said that the trip to Sweden during the festivities was like a dream for him: "It's weird, I know. I was begging on George Street and these two women came up to me and the next thing I knew I was in Sweden.
"People promise you things all the time on the street but they never materialise, and friends said I shouldn't go in case I was hung, drawn and quartered when I got there," he said. "On the plane, I was so nervous and was worrying if they would be there waiting for me or if I would be shot. Instead, it was a beautiful experience, the family was tremendous."
Fraser added: "Being homeless is cold, lonely and depressing and you get a lot of abuse from people. This was an incredible act of kindness and I loved meeting Annis' friends, family and colleagues. I wish I was there now."
Fraser's trip lasted from 21 December to 27 December. He attended an ice hockey match, visited Christmas markets and went to a midnight mass – as well as meeting the Lindkvist family, and their friends and colleagues.
Annis Lindkvist lives with her husband Daniel and three children. The 37-year-old said: "I have never felt like this before for a homeless person. There is a big place in my heart for him." Mrs Lindkvist said she had invited Mr Fraser back for Easter and says he is "part of the family now".