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 ?