Long picture post please press J if you want to skip! :)

So I was feeling pretty lousy because I’m moving back to the UK soon and a shit tonne of things went wrong lately (especially to my very patient and undeserving room mate) and I was at risk of being very sad so I decided to do what I do whenever that happens. Which is go and try to make someone happy by doing something stupid.

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See this? This is two years worth of spare change. Quarters, pennies, dollars, the lot. I’ve been keeping a bag in the bottom drawer of my desk the whole time I’ve been in Canada and every time I had too much bulking out my wallet I’d offload some into this collection.

So, what to do with it.

Step one- place in suitably durable bag.

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Step two- place into secondary bag thus disguising all sound and bulk betraying absurd amount of cash monies.

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Step three- walk around downtown Vancouver for two hours. I went all over the damned place, around from Gastown to the Art Gallery to Davie street, stopped in the park to take a breather for half a minute while the light was disappearing.

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It got dark and cold and during all this time I spoke to approximately twenty five homeless people. Vancouver has a big homeless community, a lot of them having traveled from other parts of Canada due to the simple fact that you cannot be on the street in many other cities in this country without freezing to death. I talked to them all for at least five minutes and asked them about who they were and what work they’d done and why they’d ended up where they were. Some were rude and some were kind, some had been bankers and some had been artists. Depending on their attitude and whether I thought they would spend the money wisely or not I gave them a small amount from my pocket, or I would grab a handful out of the bag, or in some cases even fill their cup to the brim. Some of the reactions were priceless. I kept going and eventually I came across this guy, Jason.

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Jason is thirty two, wanted to be an actor and was evicted from his house by his mother when he was fifteen. He’s been on the streets for six years. His favourite film is Beauty and the Beast and his favourite director is Michael Mann. In conversation he struck me not only as honest but very witty, kind, and when I did the ‘test’ (where I would say I only had a quarter on me but had enjoyed the conversation and wished him well), he did not grumble or frown but shook my hand and wished me a good flight home.

I gave him everything that was left in the bag, looked at the grin on his face to burn it into my retinas and then legged it before he could say anything else. When he yelled after me to ask my name I shouted back that I was Mary Poppins, and I’m pretty sure I heard someone clapping. I wish I’d had the sense to take a picture of his face after rather than before but it was a brilliant moment and although I know it wasn’t much I’m glad that I brought a little spark of something worth a lot more than money to him for even just a moment.

Worth every penny.

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