When I played the Comedy Store I used to regularly give money to homeless people – probably because I was happy to have done a gig, was on my way home to my family in my warm house and felt a pang of guilt at my good fortune.
But then I stopped giving directly and directed my funds elsewhere – impacted by the argument that helping people on the street allows it to become an option?
But last night, on my way home from doing a gig at The Comedy Store – walking down Piccadilly – one of the richest roads on earth – I passed a number of people wrapped up in doorways trying to sleep.
The correct thing to do of course is to avoid eye contact – but last night, something came over me. I went in to a Pret and bought a coffee and a sandwich that I had warmed up – and approached the chap I had just passed.
He was grateful of course. I don’t know, maybe I was the fifth mug that evening who had the same idea and the poor bloke was stuffed already – although his smile said otherwise.
And then something odd happened.
He recognised me. Not by name but by face.
Aren’t you on the telly, he asked.
‘Not as much as I’d like.’ I joked and he laughed – or chuckled at least.
But it shook me that he had seen me on telly and he knew who Lee Evans was and that he has apparently retired. Until his next multi-million pound tour I joked and he laughed again.
And it shook me because he was part of our world. He had watched telly and laughed like the rest of us and yet here he is now – somehow living in a bag?
How sad and how real for too many people and as I got in to my son’s car (because my wife had our car for the evening) – I drove home realising even more just how fortunate I am – just by virtue of where I was born and who I was born to.
And this is something that all of lucky sods take for granted.
And here endeth the lesson.