Last night I was coming home on the tube after seeing a play in the West End. I had an Evening Standard, but no pen, and I like to do the crossword on the journey home. I saw a shop on Leicester Square – one of those shops full of tourist tat which one never normally sets foot in. I thought – perhaps they sell pens – maybe I can buy one there. So I went in through the very narrow doorway, and saw a man behind the till. I asked him if they sold pens, and told him I wanted it for the ES crossword. He looked at me for a moment, all wrapped up because it had been raining, and then broke into a smile. He picked up the pen he had just been using, and held it out to me. ‘How much is that?’, I asked. ‘No, no, just take it!’, he said. I thanked him very much and left the shop.
I thought that was a kind act, thoughtful and helpful. And how unexpected! I just want to mark the spot, so to speak, so that it is not forgotten. Perhaps it may inspire someone else to do something similar. Anyway, there it was, and I appreciated it very much.