CHARITY –    begins at home – or does it … should it?

Do people matter, really and truly – Or is it just ME that matters?  I am the centre of my own universe, after all, and isn’t it all down to me in the end.

One day about three years ago – I was in my office on a murky winter morning, waiting for a client, when a man came in off the street; he was dishevelled, distraught, angry and disturbed. Out of his mind. He shouted at me in his anger, as if I were the cause of it.

He did not have two pennies to rub together, he said. He desperately needed just a few pounds, so that he could put some petrol into his Jaguar and take it to meet a customer who wanted to buy it. With money from the sale, he could pursue his business and all his troubles would be over.

How could I help him?

All he wanted was a few pounds – didn’t I understand? He roared at me at the top of his voice. I asked him about his business. That wasn’t his problem – he knew all about his own business, he didn’t need that sort of advice. He – just – needed – a – few – pounds.

He sat there and glared at me.

It just didn’t add up. A man with a Jaguar in a spate over a few pounds?

It was my turn to feel desperate.

“Can’t you ask the buyer to come to you?”

“How can I ask him, when I haven’t even got any money on my mobile phone?”

He delved into the inside pocket of his filthy jacket and brought out a gleaming i-phone, switching it on.

An uncharitable thought flashed through my mind. He could sell that phone, for starters! I could also offer to let him use our office phone, but somehow I knew that wasn’t the point.

“I’m an artist,” he said, switching it on. “This is one of my paintings.”

I gasped. I’m no connoisseur, but this was an amazing picture. He scrolled down, each painting equally astonishing in its perfection and the sheer life it conveyed.

I was impressed. I looked at him with new eyes, praising his talent. I opened my office door, inviting the receptionist to take a look. We whole-heartedly admired the pictures. He calmed down, thanked us, and stepped out of the office.

And we breathed joint sighs of relief.

A few months ago I prepared to see an old client. The name on the file didn’t mean anything to me, but when he came in, my heart fell. He was calmer this time; not so dishevelled, and he wanted me to help him with his business.

“We’ve seen each other before,” I said. “Do you remember?” He nodded. I refrained from asking about his Jaguar, and I was able to start him on a business plan. His journey is still on-going; and his art is still astonishing.

And I know why I am a volunteer client adviser for People Matter, a local charity with a big heart for people who need to earn a living.

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4 Responses to DO PEOPLE MATTER?

  1. Lucie Urquhart says:

    Heartwarming. PeopleMatter is an important portal.keep positive

  2. Fran Macilvey says:

    Yes, people matter. They are the reality behind all our decisions. 🙂

  3. magmap says:

    that is awesome!!!!

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