A bucketful of Guilt

18 Dec

This morning, I was standing outside Aldi waiting for my other half when four young South Asian girls, who appeared to be students, one of whom was holding a large black bucket, approached me and asked if I had any change for sick children lying in bed in hospital. I don’t mind being accosted or approached by people for a worthy cause, but it was cold, my thoughts were elsewhere and they didn’t produce any ID documentation, so I declined.

It seemed pretty selfish of me, I thought, as they walked away. But at the same time, it just appeared to be a strange request from the young women, who were either not confident about approaching strangers or were not well-informed as to what their actual task for the day entailed.

At the same time, it just never ceases to amaze me that I am accosted or approached on a regular basis  by people on the High Street. I must have some aura around me which attracts a certain type of individual or people. It’s like I must have a neon sign on my forehead, unseen by me but readily available to see by those in need or who want something, be it a donation, a quick chat, a cigarette, to pass comment, ask a question or for market research purposes.

I am prepared to help genuine people in need whenever I can, if I am available or have the resources to do something, I will. But I draw the line at being charitable towards a group of random girls who, for all intents and purposes, may not be raising funds for a a legitimate cause organisation. For all I know, they could be praying on more vulnerable pedestrians and  if any money is raised, taking more than their fair share of the donations.

It comes to something when you have to think like that. In British society, where we seem to be so entrenched in the Rights and Wrongs,  moral issues and obligations, policies and procedures, legalities and the need to properly check for ID before we part with our cash or for that matter, let someone into the house, that we can sometimes forget that we are or could potentially pay towards a good cause and perhaps be paying for medication, social contact or the opportunity to improve lives.

It appears that my days of being hospitable, sociable and generous towards others without ID forms or details have gone and I have to look at the old adage, “Charity Begins at Home” or “Put Your Own House In order Before You help others”.  But that isn’t me and if I was more alert, aware or had my wits about me this morning, I should’ve asked appropriate questions for more information and details. Maybe if I had asked, I would’ve put my hands in my pocket and donated a small amount of money, and lifted me from a day full of guilt and concerns.

The Learned Kat


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