Should I have given him the money?

A young man rang my doorbell, maybe aged 20. He said he was from the local learning disability home and was looking for sponsorship for a ten-mile run he was doing; the money would support the home. He handed me an untidy sponsorship list which many people had signed.

After a brief conversation, to my instincts (and my father was headmaster of a school catering for children with learning difficulties and I grew up living there) he very much seemed to have learning difficulties. It was difficult to communicate and he appeared to be answering much as he’d been told too.

I asked him if I could give him an email address for the sponsorship, but unfortunately he didn’t really understand. I did ask if anyone would be helping him with the list, but he was a little confused. However he did let me know some people had sponsored him there and then.

This left me in a difficult position. I wanted to help; maybe I’m a soft touch, but it was cold and he was very earnest and trying hard. It did cross my mind that perhaps it was just a good act; I’d asked him for ID but he didn’t have any (the home should’ve done that). So what do you do? In the end I decided to give him five pounds in cash; better than putting my details on a form, and enough that if I was conned I don’t regret it too much.

What would you’ve done?

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