The Money Tree

A few thoughts, on this:

  1. If you saw money on a tree, what would you do?
  2. The Money Tree is certainly a random act – but does kindness have to be directed or personal?
  3. (I think I’d assume that a) it was an art installation and b) the notes were forgeries!)

And on Random Acts of Kindness:

  1. If you’re thinking of giving something away, does it have to be something without risk? Food stuffs might be seen to be dangerous, money forged, drinks spiked… If someone left a chocolate bar on a bus wouldn’t your first thought be “what’s wrong with it?”
  2. Anonymous acts are best. People can be easily embarrassed at the thought of appearing grateful or gracious.
  3. The most successful RAKs seem to be items /services paid for then delivered through a third party – tolls paid, coffees bought, bills covered… We don’t trust strangers, but we trust service providers.
  4. Compliments – the simplest, do-anywhere RAKs – are free!

3 thoughts on “The Money Tree

  1. I remember seeing someone near Charing Cross in London once give a homeless man a book to read. About 10 minutes later the homeless man was on my train moaning to his friend on his mobile phone about how someone had given him a book instead of money. For a while I was jaded about giving the homeless money and mostly only give money via The Big Issue. However the other week it was snowing ridiculous amounts, I was stressed as hell as I couldn’t get home because of the snow AND the riots that had blocked off most of central London – but I saw a woman on the steps of the train station. It was freezing. I just grabbed all of the change in my purse and gave it to her – there was quite a lot. A guy came up to me and said ‘she’ll probably spend that on drugs’ – and I said ‘good for her’ and walked off.
    Not sure why I’ve told you that story but RAK are essential to keep this world moving in my opinion.

    • That’s interesting, as I have certain rules about giving to the homeless. Here in Leamington I used to live very near the shelter, knew a lot by sight and some by name as we’d talked from time to time. Some I’d give money, some I’d buy a coffee. Once a fella I didn’t know was loitering near the fast food joint and asked me for the cash towards a cup of tea and a bag of chips. I gave him the money, and he was so overwhelmed, he insisted on carrying my heavy suitcase home for me. I saw him walk past my flat on his way up the road later with a bag of chips and a polystyrene cup in hand!

      On the other hand, during my uni years I volunteered at the local shelter. I was living in a disgusting student house in the rough part of the city and several of the shelter regulars lived in the plus new council apartments on the near side of the river. One night while out I spotted one of the apartment-dwellers, looking rough, in his sleeping bag begging on the street. I naiively asked what had happened and was told it was his “night gig”!

      I also once gave a Big Issue guy who wished me a good day every morning a £10 note I’d found on the floor of the fitting room. It wasn’t mine to keep, nor the stores and there was no way to trace the owner, so I figured he was the most neutral recipient around! And if they’re selling Big Issue they are at least working at getting back on their feet!

      I think, in the end, RAKs are never always going to hit those who most need them – which goes back to the charity vs kindness point in my last post. But they always make a difference, whether to the end recipient, or to the way you feel about yourself.

      • Totally – you can never know what a word or coin or a note can do for someone. I guess living in London sometimes I get immune to it. In Deptford there are always two people asking for 50p for a cup of tea and you KNOW it’s not going on tea. Ah well – we can but do our little bit to make this world a perkier place I guess 🙂

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