We Are Lucky
No strings generosity
We sat on a chairlift swinging high above deep crisp snow breathing sharp clear alpine air, watching skiers shoop shoop under cloud free skies and bright French sun. A perfect harmony of yellow, blue, white and silence...save for the comedy supplied by my South African companion who viciously mimicked corrupt South African officials on the hunt for bungs, “Ya, sometimes I think ‘where have all the good people gone?’” He lamented over the greed of politicians whose rise to power had been corrupted by the desire for self gain rather than public service. Surveying the dramatic landscape wrapped around us, he switched his perspective, “But look at us here, aren’t we lucky?”
The week on the piste, disappeared quicker than an après pastis. Queuing for the check-in,, obnoxious, self-importance possessed some as they jostled to claim every square inch of the queuing line, as if holding a military line slowly advancing to an invasion of the departure lounge..the prize? To claim a plastic chair. Finally I got round to reading last Sunday’s supplements, and wished I hadn’t as read yet another story about bankers awarding themselves fat bonuses acting for banks now belonging to the humble tax payer.
The icy fingers of cynicism began to take a firm grip of my grumpiness, interrupted only by the buzzing vibration of the blackberry with a new email. Quite probably Facebook telling me about all the amazing conversations I’ve missed out on in the last two minutes or an unsolicited approach from China telling me I’m in line to inherit $250,000 from a banking error, my thumb hovered over the delete key as I read the first couple of lines, encouraging me to read on.
Here’s a stranger’s story....
“In 2010 I suddenly came into a lot of money and booked a place on the Virgin Galactic space flight. When I told my friends, they agreed that a trip into space could be amazing but not something they'd really consider if the cash was theirs to spend. I became increasing embarrassed as I realised I was blowing a life-changing amount of money on what was essentially a selfish and pointless whim. A few days later I cancelled the flight and starting looking for a cool way of not only sharing my lucky fortune, but also sharing the responsibility that comes with it.
I decided to pass on my good luck to others by giving away £1,000 every day. I planned to give the money to complete strangers – someone different every time – and all I'd ask is that they'd do something positive with the cash. But giving away £1,000 every day is harder than it sounds. Trust me. Some days the opportunity just didn't arise and on other occasions I'd end up giving away 5 or 6 grand in the space of a few hours. For a long time I was too nervous to approach strangers so I practiced on friends and family (they didn't seem to mind) and their reactions and plans for the money made me feel humble, excited and keen to take it further. Often people are very sceptical and they think it's some kind of scam, but there are some truly amazing stories. The great thing is that so many people have, in turn, passed their good luck and responsibility on to others, so it's reaching out further than I could have imagined.”
Wearelucky has been popping up all over the globe – Cape Town, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Florence, Bordeaux, New York, Las Vegas, Mumbai, Cornwall, Colorado and London documenting memorable characters the stranger has encountered since he gave up his job.
Staggered by the audacity of a social experiment with no strings attached my grumpiness took a slug to the face. Maybe our selfish nature is just a thin veneer, which can be easily chipped and stripped away to reveal true character. A chance to be good, do good, all it involves is a decision to do the right thing and grasp the spirit of generosity.