There’s an old saying – which I think is British – that perfectly sums up our collective attitude to gratitude…beggars can’t be choosers.
Personally, I think it’s pretty apt. If you’re in need all donations should be gratefully received but apparently not everyone shares my views.
I found this out to my peril on Friday night. I’m out in Soho with my housemate, my colleagues and some of their buddies and we’re standing outside a pub.
The weekend’s finally come out of hiding and we’re in high spirits; smoking and drinking and laughing.
And then, out of the corner of my eye, I see a homeless woman ambling towards us.
I immediately begin to look solemn (for some reason I think it’s disrespectful to look too happy in front of the destitute) and begin rooting around my pocket for loose change.
I always try and give money to the homeless – not because I’m charity minded but because I believe in Karma – but being on the breadline myself there is only so much I can give.
So the homeless woman, seeing that I’m feeling charitable, come and stands next to our group with an old coffee cup in her hand and extends it in my direction.
My hand is in my pocket looking for a suitable donation, and the first coin my hand settles on is a five pence piece.
I smile at the homeless lard, feeling the warm glow that only comes form helping your fellow man, and place the coin in the cup.
She smile back….until she looks down and notices the denomination of the coin I’ve handed over.
Angrily, and with a look of utter disdain on her face, she empties the cup in my hand – which only had my shiny coin in it in the first place – and rages off.
I look at my drinking buddies no utterly bemused and they look back barely containing their amusement.
I guess beggars can be choosers.