A Good Samaritan or the victim of a con?

Kate Livingstone
Kate Livingstone
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I stumbled upon a major topic of debate last week after a minor incident at work.

I was taking my lunch on Friday with my work colleague when we decided to journey to a little cafe near the train station.

Noticing the eaterie was looking busier than usual, I pushed on ahead to try to secure a seat.

Behind me, I became aware of a stranger talking to my friend.

He looked harmless enough but she was becoming engrossed in what he was saying and was looking increasingly worried.

I headed back to her, catching the end of their conversation.

“And you’ve told the police?” she asked, “and they’re not able to help?”

The man shook his head, and I then saw my friend give him £10.

“That should be enough to get you home,” she said.

Over lunch, she told me the man had been robbed, lost his money and mobile phone and wasn’t able to get home.

“That’s was really nice of you,” I said. “But what if it was a con?”

“I don’t care, it’s only a tenner, and I think he was genuine. How could I have slept tonight if I hadn’t helped?”

The next night, I was out with the happy group who are off on a free holiday.

(To recap, I’m destined for the Caribbean on a five-star holiday after a friend of mine won a competition and invited me along.)

We sat down to drinks, and I regaled the story.

One said: “I agree with you, Kate, it was a nice thing to do, but I think the man should have taken her address so he could get the money back to her?”

“Think he was overwhelmed,” I said. “His eyes filled with tears.”

“Whenever money’s involved,” said my competition-winning friend, “there will always be debate.”

Indeed there will.

This was the friend who had won a £60,000 holiday, and opted to take her friends rather than her family.

She may be going to the Caribbean, but there’s debate about whether she’ll be welcome at her daughter’s for Christmas dinner.