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How to give away £10,000 in one day in London according to @Wearelucky1

Posted at 5:45 pm, May 15, 2012 in Fun London, News, Secret London

A few weeks ago we told you about how Wearelucky were planning to give away £10,000… Here is the story of what happened when they did…

‘It wasn’t the greatest of starts. A knock-back on the tube and my confidence was low. London can be a really hard place to give away a thousand pounds. 

I boarded the Metropolitan line and struck up a conversation with the lady sitting opposite me. She worked in a hospital and seemed lovely, so I thought I’d give it a go, but she said she didn’t need the money. I tried my best to explain the project. Perhaps she could find a good use for the cash? After all, I had it right there with me in an envelope. No joy. I eventually convinced her to take the invitation and she promised to have a look at the website in her own time. This was going to be a long day.

I met up with a couple of friends in a book shop near Piccadilly Circus. They were supposed to help me plan the day by suggesting interesting locations, but the best they could come up with was a list of pubs. It was definitely pub weather. Before we left the shop I flicked to the ‘L’ section of a dictionary and placed an invite on the ‘lucky’ page. I tweeted a photo and we left, but that invite still hasn’t been claimed. I think the staff must have binned it.

We wandered in the general direction of Big Ben, desperate to spot a good deed. As we turned in Parliament Square I bumped into a fella bending down to pick up someone else’s rubbish. I stopped to chat and and suddenly found myself telling Kirk all about Wearelucky. I suppose I was looking for my first buzz of the day because I quickly asked him to take part. He seemed perplexed ­ I’m not great at this cold-calling ­ and even when Kirk had the cash in his hands he still didn’t really seem to believe it. I took some snaps of Kirk and he said he planned to send some money back to his family in Jamaica…and then go shopping with the rest. I was just happy to get off the mark.

There seemed to be a disproportionate number of nurses on the south side of Westminster Bridge and we discovered that St Thomas’ hospital was close by. Nurses are good people, right? Perfect. We ended up having lunch in the cafeteria and I approached a nurse sitting by herself in the corner. I gave her my biggest smile, but she must have thought I was hitting on her because she politely declined and turned away to finish her lunch. Then I spotted a nurse filling out a lottery ticket – a custom built opportunity! – but she said that she was due back on the ward and had no time to chat. I left an invite, but I haven’t heard back.

Maybe the pub was the best idea after all? We cut across to Waterloo station where a bloke dressed as Po was collecting money for a children’s cancer charity. My mate suggested that we stay and watch for a while. Perhaps I could reward someone that dropped a few pennies into Po’s bucket? We watched for 15 minutes, but despite a cheerful and laid-back approach, Po was getting no love. I wandered over for a chat and asked his name. Uche told me that he was a volunteer and that the wet weather had a massive impact on how much he managed to collect. A few seconds later, I asked Uche to take part and he was ecstatic. He pledged a big chunk of the cash to the charity and said that he’d like to buy his brother a belated birthday present.

Now I was on a roll and we hit the pub to celebrate. I checked the Twitter account and the Time Out blog had generated a lot of interest and increased our followers. I decided to tweet our location and after 15 minutes, in came Lucy. I offered her an invite and an envelope stuffed with 50 pound notes. She was obviously emotional and excited ­ I’m not sure how I would feel if it happened to me but it was a lovely moment. Lucy is personally involved in supporting an Ethiopian school and the money will do wonderful things in her hands.

I’d arranged to take some photographs of a previous Lucky Person and we jumped in a cab up to Tottenham Court Road. I was buzzing from the pub experience and wanted to try it again, so we soon decamped to The One Tun and tweeted our location. It felt like seconds before Joesph rushed in…closely followed by 4 or 5 others! I panicked and disappeared to take some photos of Joesph while my mates held the fort. Joseph told me about his condition ­ cardiomyopathy ­and his photography project involving fellow sufferers. He plans to use the money to put on an exhibition and raise awareness. Great stuff.

I left Joesph and was immediately approached by Katherine. This girl had been stalking us! But I didn’t mind, as she had a great story and excellent plans for the money. She’d left work just the day before to concentrate on founding a charity called Mumaso Africa, aimed at enabling sustainable change for communities in Uganda. We jumped into another pub to escape the rain and chat about her charity. And I would have stayed for longer, but the Lucky People were now coming thick and fast.

Next up was Marina. She’d also been tracking us around London and I was staring to feel like Ringo in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’. Marina told me about her elderly neighbour who had not had hot water for 6 years. She wanted to help her out and I loved it, despite Marina’s fears that her plan wasn’t grand enough. But that’s not the point of the project and the beauty of Wearelucky is that the money ends up in places that I’d never have imagined.

Time for a food stop. We headed to Exmouth Market and found a Thai restaurant, tweeting a photo clue and then immediately deleting the pic. A few minutes later Mark appeared at the window and we invited him in to join us. We shared a bowl of prawn crackers and a couple of beers and Mark pledged the whole lot to his mate’s attempt at a monster bike ride from London to Hong Kong in aid of Breast Cancer Care. Fantastic! I felt intoxicated and it wasn’t just the beer. I was having so much fun and I wanted to do one more.

We walked down to the Queen’s Head pub on Essex Road and put the shout out on Twitter. 20 minutes later Riccardo came in. Our last Lucky Person! He seemed pretty nervous, especially when he saw the cash and he feared that someone might try and mug him. We left the pub together and I walked him up to Upper Street and told him to get a taxi, forgetting to ask him how he planned to spend the money. So, Riccardo, if you’re reading this, please do get in touch!’

For info, see we-are-lucky.com or follow his live tweets today @Wearelucky1.

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