Pay it forward

'Cos you get what you give

It was the week before Christmas and I was on my way to the place where I was freelancing.

As I exited Sloane Square tube station, I pulled my scarf up higher around my neck; it was 9am and bitingly cold. I steeled myself and looked ahead down the Kings Road, ready to race to my destination. All around me, people were doing likewise; a mixture of workers and Christmas shoppers.

All of a sudden, I saw him. In all honesty, he was hard to miss, as he stood facing the station’s opening, as though a performer on stage. Alongside him was his dog.

This guy, this man – this human being – was homeless, quite clearly so.
Side-note: why do we always check the ‘authenticity’ of someone’s homelessness? It’s quite clear that anyone begging for money is in a pretty sorry state of affairs, one way or another.

He was shouting, pleading to the passers-by:

“Please spare some change so I can pay for shelter tonight. PLEASE!”

I saw him, I heard him, but I was late for work and besides; I rarely have any change on me.

As I passed, he spoke again. There was an urgency, a neediness in his voice. People urgently pushed past him, men in pin-stripe suits and yummy mummies in UGGs.

I stopped a few steps just past him, checking my purse for change, fingers freezing being exposed to the icy elements.

Amazingly (for me) I had £2.50 in change. I turned around and pressed it into the man’s hand, saying: “I’m sorry it’s not much, but it’s all I have.” I wanted to explain to him that I was struggling for money, too – nothing in comparison to him – but if I had more, I would give it. I told him I was on my way to work. He thanked me and returned to his impassioned pleading: “SOMEONE! PLEASE HELP ME!”

I thought about him for much of the morning.

Lunchtime came and I found myself in Pret A Manger. I took a sandwich up to the counter and ordered a strong soya latte to warm my bones. I had my head down as I rooted around in my handbag for my debit card. The total amount was going to be around £6. The cashier said something to me which I didn’t catch. “I’m sorry?” I said, smiling.

“Your order is free of charge today,” he replied, smiling back.

I couldn’t believe it! I know this is something Pret does, but the timing on this occasion was quite beautiful.

That morning, I’d given to someone less fortunate than me – from, it must be said, a place of love, and without wanting anything in return (and nor to #humblebrag like this).

A few hours later the Universe rewarded me by giving me something back.

I relayed the story to the cashier and it made his day too, going full-circle.

It was 7pm by the time I finished work and headed back in the biting breeze to the station.

The homeless man was still there, begging for money. He’d been there all day and still hadn’t made enough money for a hostel that night. The week before Christmas.

My heart broke. What if everyone who passed him that day had spared a little change? What if they all ‘paid it forward’? What magic might the Universe have created for them?

Money has a certain magic about it, you know.

If you allow your money to leave you more freely – and nope, that doesn’t include splashing out on a Gucci handbag, I’m ‘fraid – you create a flow, which in turn creates more income. The more you worry about money by tight-fistedly holding onto it, you create a block, making it harder for cash to come your way.

So be kind, be generous. Tip your waitress, treat your colleague to coffee. The Universe has your back, and you’ll find that you’ll make a return on the things you give away – usually with added interest!

Remember this: If you have enough money for all of your needs today then you are ABUNDANT.