I haven't yet made a post about GiveMondays, it has been another one of those things I've been meaning to do but haven't got around to until now. I have, however, been tweeting about it and posting on Facebook about it quite a lot.
Today prompted me to write this post because we almost got into trouble with the police. It was fun! :)
For the uninitiated, GiveMondays is an anonymous community of people who want to do random acts of kindness. The way we do this is by giving out blue envelopes on Mondays that contain a tenner and a note with something nice on it. If you want to see some examples, the GiveMondays Facebook page has loads of great photos on it.
# A run in with the popo
Today I was giving out my envelopes after work with a friend. We have a few usual routes that we do and today we were in St Pancras Station near Camden. It hadn't actually occurred to me before that we look suspicious doing this (especially given the advent of a large coat and moustache).
We decided to leave an envelope on an ATM. It did not occur to us that ATMs have quite a lot of CCTV near them. It only dawned on us when two police officers, plus police dog, walked up to us with the envelope and asked us what it was. Thankfully Steve, the aforementioned friend, was on his toes and quickly explained the concept.
The police just laughed. They seemed a bit shocked and bemused. One of them called us mad and said, jokingly, that we should be sectioned. After a brief chat with them, they told us they loved the idea and that we should carry on as we were :)
# People can be frustrating
Giving out free money is a lot harder than you might envisage. Especially in London. Handing things to people is often met with looks of disgust and rejection. I've got into the bad habit of trying to hand people an envelope, saying "please?" and looking hilariously desperate, much to the amusement of those around me.
The following is a list of frustrating things that have happened during my GiveMondays escapades:
The envelope we left on the ATM was actively ignored, with people literally walking up to it, looking at it, then queueing up at a different ATM. I would be less annoyed if there was no queue, but these people were happier to wait in the cold to use an ATM than open a random envelope.
On three occasions I have left an envelope next to someone (on a bench or a table) and they've briefly looked up at it, then ignored it. One of the people actually walked off and left it there. It's hard to overstate how obvious it was that these envelopes were intended for the people they were given to.
It is very, very common that people will walk up to an envelope, look at it, then keep walking. Even if it says something like "Open me! :)" or "I'm for you! :)" on the front of it, they just don't take it.
On one occasion when I handed an envelope to someone it was taken from me, hand to hand, and then ignored.
# People can also be awesome
Check out these blog posts from the GiveMondays blog:
- Shop Gifting
- Our new favourite story
- Our favourite stories
- 1 hour donation frenzy
- Our top 10 GiveMondays stories
Why not give it a try next Monday? :) It's a really great feeling, especially when the person that receives it tweets about it.