Fundraiser set up to help Edinburgh homeless man return to family in Bulgaria
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Mustafa Esar, whose nationality remains unknown, is regularly spotted sitting outside a Royal Bank Of Scotland branch in Bruntsfield Place.
Local resident Alexander Chepelin, who sees him on a daily basis, said the gentleman was distressed yesterday after apparently missing his flight out of Edinburgh on January 5.
The 23-year-old said through broken English, Portuguese and Bulgarian, he understands Mustafa had booked a flight to Bulgaria to see relatives there, but was denied boarding for failing to show a valid negative Covid-19 test before travelling.
"I don’t think he knew that he had to do one before flying,” Alexander said.
"I also don’t think he had the money to pay for one up front.
"He seemed in a real state yesterday, and had clearly saved up money for this flight back to his relatives so I just wanted to give the guy a hand.
"Luckily someone at the airline had a kind heart and have re-booked him on another flight on January 9, and he is booked in for a Covid test tomorrow.”
Alexander set up a crowdfunding page on January 6 to raise £150 to cover the cost of the Covid-19 test (£80) and some extra cash should he run into any problems getting to his relatives.
The community response has been overwhelming.
In just 15 minutes, Alexander said the fundraiser page exceeded it’s target and it has currently raised more than £600.
"When I last saw him, we came to the decision that we would meet back at RBS on the 8th, and I would give him the money,” Alexander added.
"I showed him the page and he seemed to understand what it was for.
"He had is old flight ticket and a document that looked like confirmation for a Covid test booking when I last saw him, so I have faith he’s organised enough to be ready for his flight in two days time.
"I hope he understood it all and that he will be there to meet me, it’s a bit of a gamble.”
Alexander said he will be in touch with Edinburgh Evening News to give an update on Mustafa’s situation.