I was on the Tube in London on Thursday and opposite me were a mum and two little girls. One was hers and the other was her best friend - about 5. They were going to a kids' theatre show for a birthday outing.
A man walked down the compartment asking for money. Actually I'd seen him doing the same the day before. "Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm very sorry to trouble you but I'm trying to get myself straight, and I need just a bit of money to help me do that. I need a place to sleep tonight. I hate asking you but if you can spare some change I'd be very grateful." Everyone [including me] looked down at their iPhone, iPad, book or newspaper and ignored him. The mum opposite took a £2 coin out of her purse. By now the man was a couple of yards down the compartment, so she gave the coin to her little girl who walked after the man and gave him the money. When she came back to her seat the child said to the mother: "I expect he's homeless."
As we arrived at the next station a lady who had been sitting nearby approached the mother: "I'm a social worker from XXXXX. That man is one of my clients. He gets housing benefit and he has a flat, and we've given him lots of other assistance. Give the money to the charity not to someone begging. He'll probably spend it on drink." The mother didn't answer but I said to the social worker (quietly): "You shouldn't have ticked off that mother in front of her children. They thought they were doing a good thing, and she was teaching the kids something. You may have got the man right but you shouldn't have told her off in front of them." She harumphed and got off the train.
Who was right? The mother or the social worker. Should I have kept quiet?
Robert Sat 05-Mar-16 23:50:23
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