Steve always knew that being a busker on the streets of London would be a hard gig, but it was one he enjoyed. He truly enjoyed playing his guitar and making a bit of money into the bargain.
Each day he grabbed his guitar and made the slightly arduous journey from his tiny one room, sheltered, bedsit just south of the river in Battersea and walked across and along the Thames bank to his pitch between Charing Cross station and Trafalgar square.
Over the past year he had gone from being homeless; trying to find a warm and dry place to sleep each night, to living in sheltered accommodation after a chance meeting at Christmas when he was enjoying the Shelter charity lunch. Unlike many ‘street-people’ he had never resorted to drugs, but for a while had played his part on the ‘meat-rack’ in Piccadilly.
Now he played his guitar for the commuters, tourists and day to day passers by. It didn’t make him a fortune but it was enough to scrape by on, week to week, and he was happier than he had been for some time.
He enjoyed the sound of coins dropping into his hat, knowing that people were appreciative of his playing. He never dreamed of being discovered and hitting the big time, but he did dream of settling into a more normal way of life. All he needed was a break.
This Monday morning felt slightly different, Steve thought, as he prepared himself for the day ahead. He walked from his place to his pitch with a particular spring in his step. Des`pite the cloudy, overcast skies threatening a storm he was playing with enthusiasm and a broad smile. Lost in his music he didn’t notice when a small packet was dropped into his hat, as opposed to the small change that normally jangled as it bounced in hitting the other coins.
As it started raining around four o’clock Steve decided that enough was enough for the day and started to pack up. Picking up his hat he grabbed the coins from inside, and found the small bundle. This was the first time he had noticed this strange paper bundle. Lifting it out of the hat he couldn’t believe his eyes it was a bundle of notes -a bundle of twenty pound notes. Looking around he thought that perhaps he was the butt of some comedy hit, but as far as he could tell no one was taking any interest in him. Everyone had their heads down rushing hither and thither to avoid the rain.
He popped the coins and the bundle of notes into his pocket and headed off for home, wondering who on earth would have dropped such a large amount of money into his hat. He had no idea how much was there and was keen to get home to count it.
When he got back to his bedsit he shucked off his coat and hat, propped his guitar by the door and dropped the days earnings on the bed. Turning the wad of notes over and over in his hands he finally noticed a slip of paper tucked in with the money.
The note simply said ‘Passing by each day on my way to and from work and hearing your wonderful playing has lightened my load. I have had some good luck lately and hope this small contribution will lighten yours.’ It was signed with a solitary ‘M’.
As Steve started to count the notes he knew his life was about to change so much for the better.