Conversations with Strangers

The other day I spotted one of those charity fundraising reps whilst walking through a shopping mall, they were all in uniform, they had a stand set up and there were about four of them; (I’d had a long day and just wanted to grab something quickly from the supermarket and get home – there was no way of escaping them so I picked up my pace, the type of pace that signals I am in ‘fly by’ mode – don’t try to stop me). I clocked one of the reps from a good distance away, and he clocked me too!

The rep had me targeted, my fast paced walk didn’t deter him – he walked with me, keeping the pace. For some reason I stopped. I never stop, but today I did and I’m glad I did.

I told the rep that I would not be handing over bank details to make donations on the spot – but feel free to give me a leaflet to inspect later. Of course they never have any leaflets and at this point they normally move onto the next passer by – but not this guy.

Would you believe it- we stood talking for what seemed like almost an hour!! How on earth did he manage that with me?

There was something strangely familiar about him, weird as it sounds, he looked and reminded me a little bit of my granddad (rest his soul), a younger version.

I’ll refer to the rep as Mr C.

I don’t know how it happened but we ended up talking about the following:

  • His travels all over the world and his future travel plans – including the time he crossed the border from Syria to Iraq just for the fun of it, because he was curious; and the time he landed in Canada, not realising there were several feet of snow to contend with when he got off the plane – along with roofs of buildings caving in to the weight of the snow (and we Brits complain about a few measly millimetres SMH).

  • Funny stories from his travels, like the time he nearly got arrested in Liberia whilst playing monopoly in the airport (passing the time due to a 5 hour delayed flight). The Liberian police thought the monopoly money was real and concluded that Mr C and his companions were illegally gambling. Fortunately, the Liberian police were eventually convinced that the money was not real – close shave though! Mr C said he had been warned about people’s heads and limbs being found in different locations for upsetting the wrong people in this country!!!  

  • The time he was in the Philippines and woke up with a fright to see a giant lizard staring down at him – he asked a member of the hotel staff to catch it – the staff came into the room with a ladder to try and catch it, but the lizard jumped at the staff and he fell off his ladder in the process. Needless to say, the lizard got away!

  • The fact that his mother and my father come from the same place and how his mother inspired him to enjoy life and make the most of it

  • The perks and pains of his current job – Mr C and his fundraising team get taken up and down the UK and put up in hotels  – including Leeds, Manchester and currently London, but it can be a strain socially, especially if you don’t really gel with your team – as you tend to socialise with them a lot after work due to being away from home and not knowing anyone else in each given city or town. Mr C said he’d be around the shopping mall we spoke in for a week, then he’d be off again!

That evening, I got home a lot later than planned, but what a lovely chat!


19 thoughts on “Conversations with Strangers

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  3. allysnotebook

    That certainly was an interesting conversation with the fund raising rep. The rep obviously needed someone to talk to, I am sure he appreciated you taking the time to listen. I am of course a cynical person at times and thought he if disclosed to you and won your trust you would weaken and give your bank details. I often get approached by fund raisers at the local shopping centre. The majority don’t want cash donations and in that case they get no support from me. I do of course give plenty to charity of my choice but not money.

    1. Cherryl

      Hi Ally, yes, unexpectedly interesting!! I’m like you – I would never ever give someone my bank details like that – I’m surprised people do it to be honest, and like you I prefer donate privately and securely. I think you’re right about the rep needing someone to talk to – I told him he should write a book about all his travel stories, I could have listened for another hour lol. I think sometimes we are meant to meet/bump into people – and he was one of them.

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