On the street

Recent news reports have suggested that people pretending to be beggars / panhandlers on the streets of London can earn up to £200 per day.

The report talked of second jobbers who work in a regular occupation 9 to 5 and then hit the streets. I’ve no idea if any of this is true.

Nottinghill Gate has its regular charachters who seek a little coinage to get them through the day and they look genuine and walk the talk.

Last night as I emerged out of the subway I was approached by a well groomed lady in her 50s. She carried a handbag and small shopping bag and spoke English in a distinctive French accent.

She apologised for stopping me and said she was embarrassed to be asking but could I give her a £1 coin.

No back story or pleading. Just a simple direct request politely made.

Who was I to say ‘no’ and I handed over the coin and we bade each other goodnight.

But sometimes these random encounters leave a lasting impression. Who was she ? Where was she from ? Why so specific with the amount ? Why no convoluted story which both parties know the other does not believe ?

Total mystery but she got her £1 and I kinda felt I had helped someone. And isn’t that what life is all about – a bit of give and take ?

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2 thoughts on “On the street

  1. I dont know about the give and take aspect of this, but I think you definately got taken. I think that is because you are British of a certain sensibility. I dont think I need to explain this any further because we both know that given the approach that was used, you simply could not have said no. Whatever else she was, she was a very good con artist and had made a quick study of her mark ( no pun intended ). I would have done exactly what you did, and experienced the same unease later.

  2. Let’s say she was in real need. What good does 1 pound do? Will it find her a job, a place to live, a way out of her mess? You should have walked her to the nearest social services office and wished her bonne chance and bon courage.

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