A mother who thought her son was dead when he went missing more than a decade ago has hailed a ‘Christmas miracle’ after discovering he is still alive.
Joyce Curtis believed her boy Nicholas had died because she hadn’t seen or heard from him since 2010.
The last thing she knew he was hitchhiking across France and Spain, but because of Covid, she thought Nicholas had contracted the disease and lost his life.
The heartbroken mother “even mourned him.” But on December 19, she received a call that her son was alive and in hospital in the south of France.
Joyce Curtis believed her son Nicholas had died as she had not seen or heard from him since 2010. She is photographed at her home in Glasgow with a picture of her son.
But on December 19, just days before Christmas, she was told that her son was still alive and living in France. He is pictured here before going on a journey
“I can’t believe it,” she said. “I thought with Covid and everything that happened, I thought he was dead. I grieved for him.
“When I got the call that he was alive, I was in shock. All I did was cry all day.
“This has just become Christmas for me, especially since my husband passed away in June.
“It’s like in that movie Miracle on 34th Street. It’s like a miracle.
“I had resigned myself to the fact that he had died. I really thought so and I think everyone felt the same way.’
In a video she posted to friends on Facebook, she later added, “I never gave up on my son.”
Nicholas left his hometown of Glasgow, Lanarkshire, in the mid-2000s to travel around Europe after losing his job as a cabinet maker.
He told his mother that he was hitchhiking and Joyce believes he lived on the streets of Paris for a while.
She decided to report him missing in 2009 because he hadn’t heard from her son in “a long time”.
A year later, Joyce was contacted by the British Consulate in Paris to inform her that Nicholas had been admitted to a hospital in France.
She then flew to visit him with her husband – but that would be the last time she would see or hear from him for over a decade.
Joyce said: ‘I got a letter in 2010 saying that Nicholas was in hospital in France.
“He had been missing for some time by then.
“I had reported him missing here in Glasgow last year after not hearing from him for ages.
“My husband and I went to see him and it was so nice to see him.
Shot at her home in Scotland, Joyce said: ‘This just became Christmas for me… It’s like that movie ‘Miracle on 34th Street’. It’s like a miracle.’
“We were trying to get him home, but for some reason, I don’t know why, he just disappeared again.
“They sent him home and I was told he was going to be put on a flight.
“I was expecting him at home in Glasgow at some point. I was working at Southern General Hospital at the time. I waited for him to come home and there was no sign.
“When I visited him in France, I bought him some shoes and stuff so he had clothes to travel home with.
‘I was waiting for work. But he never came home. I remember it raining cats and dogs that day.
“I called every airport to see if he got on a flight, but nothing.
‘We never heard anything again. That was the last I heard from him until Monday.’
Joyce received the shocking news that he was alive when the British consulate contacted her to warn her that he had been admitted to a French hospital for the second time.
‘I spoke to him on the phone. He looks healthy. “I asked him, ‘Are you coming home Nicky?’ And he said, ‘Yes’.
“I can’t imagine what he’s been through. I just need to get him home.’
Joyce said her son now plans to return home for the first time since he left the UK to travel in the mid-2000s. Joyce is pictured holding a photo of her son as a boy
Joyce broke the news on Facebook and told her friends, “Nicky has been found.”
The announcement was received with a wave of joy from her friends and family, with one saying, ‘Great news!! Joyce hopefully you get him back to your home soon so happy for you and family xxxx
Another said, “Great news for you and the family.”
While a third said ‘Oh you must be so excited, sending love and hugs I hope you see him soon xx’
Nicholas now plans to return home, but Joyce is eager to travel to France to see him.
She said, “I’m not building my hopes up until I get him home.
“Hopefully I can even get to France with my daughter before then so I can see him.”
The spokesperson for the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office said: ‘We are supporting a British man in France and providing assistance to his family.
“We are in contact with the local authorities.”