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The 'Beggar' pilgrim at Pamplona.

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
It was about 10 years ago , Money was plentiful , to draw €300 from a ATM was easy. I always stayed at the Pension Escaray which cost me €20 or less for my own prefered single room. This justified my €50/100 per day indulgence during the whole day. Sometimes I would have lunch and dinner at the Cafe Urún which meant two bottles of vino - there were times where only the angels led me back home. It was cheaper for me to carvort in Pamplona than exist in London.
When walking on one of the main streets I encountered a ginger young man who had a little sign asking for help. He must have been 21 years old , from an 'Eastern Block' country and he had run out of funds - he was a pilgrim. I stooped down to his eye level and ask how I could help. Then , call it divine intervention I dug into my pocket and gave him €50. His eyes lit up and he suddenly had hope.
Now as little as I am , I can be an assertive little bug***r. I told him that there was a condition , it was that he threw his sign away and started walking right NOW!! Which he did , I had given him enough to live for a week on the Camino , I never saw him again. I do hope he completed his Camino.

That €50 was never really mine was it? ;) 🙏
 
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KJT

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future
It was about 10 years ago , Money was plentiful , to draw €300 from a ATM was easy. I always stayed at the Pension Escaray which cost me €20 or less for my own prefered single room. This justified my €50/100 per day indulgence during the whole day. Sometimes I would have lunch and dinner at the Cafe Urún which meant two bottles of vino - there were times where only the angels led me back home. It was cheaper for me to carvort in Pamplona than exist in London.
When walking on one of the main streets I encountered a ginger young man who had a little sign asking for help. He must have been 21 years old , from an 'Eastern Block' country and he had run out of funds - he was a pilgrim. I stooped down to his eye level and ask how I could help. Then , call it divine intervention I dug into my pocket and gave him €50. His eyes lit up and he suddenly had hope.
Now as little as I am , I can be an assertive little bug***r. I told him that there was a condition , it was that he threw his sign away and started walking right NOW!! Which he did , I had given him enough to live for a week on the Camino , I never saw him again. I do hope he completed his Camino.

That €50 was never really mine was it? ;) 🙏
Unfortunately, in November this year I was fooled into loaning 130 Euros to a fellow pilgrim, a smart German chap in a hat and bow tie. I had met him on the Camino and walked with him for a few days at the end. He said he had problems accessing funds and needed money to get back home to Berlin to sort it all out. Needless to say, I never heard from him again.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Years ago, I met a pilgrim from Texas on the Aragones. He had failed to notify his bank that he'd be traveling and was unable to access funds. He asked if anyone would loan him €20 so he could survive for a week until the mess was cleaned up. I gave him quite a bit more than that. Several people told me I was stupid, and that I'd never see the money again. But I just had a feeling he was honest.

Weeks later, I was in Los Arcos sleeping at the municipal when the hospitalero came in asking for "Annie Carvalho, Annie Carvalho?" They said there was a man in the lobby who wanted to talk to me. I was puzzled. When I got out there, it was the pilgrim with the cash he'd borrowed. He had literally looked for me and found me to pay me back.

Several times in my past, people have helped me out or given me cash when I needed it.
I just figured I had the money and if it was gone, it wasn't mine to begin with.
I was just playing it forward.
 
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vettesquared

CF Sept/Oct 2017
Past OR future Camino
2017
I had a similar experience, but positive.
A fellow pilgrim was running short on cash, so I gave her a 50 Euro bill to give her some help. She then asked for my address, so I gave it to her, but told her that repayment wasn't necessary. I did not see her again on the Camino.
A couple of months after I returned home, I received a card from someone in Colorado. It was a thank you note from her, and there was also a check for $100! What a wonderful surprise!
I had several Camino angels help me along the way, but thinking back, I was one myself, although I didn't really think about it at the time.
In the 4 years since my Camino, I am a better, giving person, and others noticed a profound change in me. I am thankful I made the journey across beautiful Spain.
And my Camino continues...
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Unfortunately, in November this year I was fooled into loaning 130 Euros to a fellow pilgrim, a smart German chap in a hat and bow tie. I had met him on the Camino and walked with him for a few days at the end. He said he had problems accessing funds and needed money to get back home to Berlin to sort it all out. Needless to say, I never heard from him again.
That was just last month. Let’s pray that you yet hear from him. In the meantime, you believed you were doing a kind act; if you never hear back from him, it will be on his conscience, not yours.
 
Past OR future Camino
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
Unfortunately, in November this year I was fooled into loaning 130 Euros to a fellow pilgrim, a smart German chap in a hat and bow tie. I had met him on the Camino and walked with him for a few days at the end. He said he had problems accessing funds and needed money to get back home to Berlin to sort it all out. Needless to say, I never heard from him again.

In 11 caminos I have yet to see anyone wearing a tie, bow or otherwise. I've seen men in kilts and men in sarongs, and a number of skinnydipping pilgrims, but never a tie. If one were to wear a tie as a pilgrim, a bow tie would be practical, or possibly an ascot, but I find it singular.

Still, it's early days, and you may hear from him yet.
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Paying it forward or a snow job?


I too firmly believe one must act towards others with trust and mutual assistance
“as ye would that men should do to you”.

Unfortunately scams do occur.

I, may have been scammed on the Camino during late February 2006 in what I later called The Snow Job. It all began late one stormy night in the Villafranca Montes de Oca municipal albergue and lasted for several weeks!!

.....In retrospect I still do not want to believe that I was milked for money in a real snow job! Hopefully all was not just a ruse and I had not been duped.

At least what I gave then was given
in the Camino spirit.
 
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KJT

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Future
I have wonderful memories of the Camino, pilgrims offering me help and comfort as i limped up a long hill suffering from shin splints, a bar owner who helped me out then gave me free coffee and water simply because I was kind to his dog and all of the helpful hints and friendship offered by fellow pilgrims throughout the journey. That one person failed to understand the fellowship of the Camino will not tarnish my memories nor deter me from offering a helping hand to those in need that I meet in the future. Here's hoping I have misjudged his silence.
 

Jeff Crawley

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
A "Tourigrino" trip once Covid has passed, so 2023
I'd always be tempted to help someone out mainly because of what happened to my daughter in 2012.
I was in Portomarin on the Camino and she was in San Francisco having just finished a stint as a Camp Councillor.
She suddenly found she couldn't withdraw any money using her Debit Card (she refuses to have a Credit Card) and needed to pay for her last two nights in the YMCA, meals for two days and her transport to the airport.
There was more than enough money in her account but the card wouldn't work.
Three way conversations her/me/her bank in London were fruitless and a solution was only found when a friendly Englishman called Steve said he was happy for me to pay money into his account and he'd draw it out and give it to Katherine.
And that's what we did.
Although she had told her bank she would be in the US for 3 months they decided, while she was away, to issue her with a new Debit Card which they sent to her home address in London and cancelled the existing one!
Not quite a "beggar" story but if it hadn't have been for the kindness of strangers . . .
 

Doughnut NZ

From Aotearoa New Zealand
Past OR future Camino
2022
Many, many years ago when I was working in central Sydney and living in a flat in Randwick my Mum came down from the Gold Coast on the train for a visit.

When I picked her up from the station she had a young American girl with her who was in her late teens and doing a world trip. Sydney was this woman's second to last stop before returning home to the US. She had a ticket to Fiji with a four day lay over and her return flight to LA.

She had run out of money and had no where to stay in Sydney. She and my Mum had got talking on the train and had explained her predicament. My Mum had said "no problem, come with me to my Son's place and stay there for two nights before your flight to Fiji and we will show you around Sydney".

And so she stayed with us for the two nights, sleeping on the floor in my lounge using one of my very fluffy sheepskin rugs as her mattress while we got to know her as we showed her the sights of Sydney (and a delightful young woman she was).

On the third day, just before I drove her out to the airport she asked me if I would lend her some money to cover her four days in Fiji. I have never liked lending money to people in person and so I offered to give her the money instead.

She, in turn, was reluctant to take the money as a gift and so, as a way out of her dilemma, she offered to sell me her Walkman (which in those days was a very sort after electronic music device that was hard to find in Australia) which had been a gift from her father as a going away present.

I did not really want the Walkman, especially as she valued it as her father's gift but could see no other way out of our situation and so agreed to buy it off her and then stored it away safely.

Having concluded our business and satisfied that she had enough funds to safely navigate her time in Fiji I drove her to the airport and saw her off.

Four months later, her mother met me when I landed in LA (a stop over before continuing on to the UK) and drove me back to their family home where I enjoyed their hospitality for a couple of days before moving out to continue my journey exploring the US.

While staying with the family I returned the Walkman to my friend and she returned the money to me.

We remain friends and my family and children enjoyed the hospitality of her, her husband and her children when we did a Disneyland trip some years later. Their hospitality was even more valuable because they lived within walking distance of Disneyland and had a couple of season passes that they loaned to us. We haven't yet had the opportunity to return the hospitality back here in ANZ but I hope that one day this may be possible.
 

Esperanza

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
Although she had told her bank she would be in the US for 3 months they decided, while she was away, to issue her with a new Debit Card which they sent to her home address in London and cancelled the existing one!
Not quite a "beggar" story but if it hadn't have been for the kindness of strangers . . .

I had a bank pull this stunt on me once when I was in Slovakia. It caused a lot of problems for me, to say the least. I had stupidly put my non-working ATM card in the machine over and over until it was “captured” by the machine. It was the only one I had; it was a Friday night, so I was cashless until Monday morning when the bank reopened at minimum. It was January and about 0F/-20C, so sleeping in a park wasn’t really an option. When I finally got my card back, it was nearly sliced in two. It still worked if I very gently pushed it together and crossed my fingers whenever I used it for the rest of the two-month trip.

Strangers helped me out. I always now travel with a blank personal check or two. Someone from another country wouldn’t have any use for it, but another American could take it in exchange for local currency cash, and then get repaid by cashing it when they get home. That’s what saved me in Slovakia. And someone trusted me enough to take my check.

I changed banks after I got home.
 
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anamcara

Camino Walker
Past OR future Camino
2022 Chemin du Piémont Pyrénéen; Camino Baztan 😎
@Doughnut NZ that is one of the best stories ever! Having a little faith, showing a little kindness. … in this case more than a little … goes a long way. I particularly like how you respected her need to provide something in return for your offer. An enduring friendship across generations. What more could you ask for 🙏
 

chinacat

Veteran Member
lthough she had told her bank she would be in the US for 3 months they decided, while she was away, to issue her with a new Debit Card which they sent to her home address in London and cancelled the existing one!

Happened to me in France.

I spent hours on my mobile ’phone to the bank and told them they had to reinstate my card, as I had no other source of funds.
They did it, so it’s not impossible to do, which is what they tell you initially.
I also secured a credit, to cover my mobile ‘phone costs, when I got home.

I wonder if they’ve got round to linking the info about their clients’ travelling arrangements to the automatic dispatch of new cards yet …
(I suppose they could always just hold off from sending them 6-8 weeks before they expire.)
 

RENSHAW

Official Camino Vino taster
Past OR future Camino
2003 CF Roncesvalles to Santiago
2/4 weeks on the CF frequently.
Hospitalero San Anton June 2016.
Another short story but before that , I loosely used the word 'Beggar' however I still treated the young gent with respect and made sure I was not demeaning towards him. It was a win win situation and I still feel good about it over 10 years later.☺️

Also another one of those 'stuck with no cash' stories. It was Just before Viana when I spotted a chap taking a short cut , a dangerous one at that. I knew that stretch very well and I knew if he just continued a little more , there was a safe path through this ravine. 'Big Man' I shouted and he was a big guy and they can fall hard?I guided him to the right crossing. What a wonderful man he turned out to be. I told him about my tale of woe , I must have sounded like a scammer? 'Don't worry' he said . 'I can help, relax' and so he did. He was that type of chap that nothing seemed to phase him? He paid for my Albergue that night and bought me dinner AND advanced me enough money to get a bus to Madrid for my flight to London - all told , €80 and it was a loan. Weeks turned into months and not a day would go by where I would not think of my responsibility towards the Big Man, When I was flush I was unable to find his e-mail address.
almost a year passed and I was looking at some Camino memory makers and there it was , scribbled on the back of a postcard- the Big Man's e-mail address. I asked him if he had a PayPal account which he did , he also added that my timing was excellent as the money would come in handy - I sent him €100. To this day we remain facebook buddies - thank you Big Man;)❤️
 
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chinacat

Veteran Member
I have never liked lending money to people in person and so I offered to give her the money instead.

This sentiment echoes in my own heart/head.
By giving, and not lending, we leave our fellow human being free.
Also free to perform their own deed, should they wish/are able to do so.

It was lovely that she wanted to meet your generosity with her own offer and that you accepted … and that you are lasting friends.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
By giving, and not lending, we leave our fellow human being free.
By giving instead of lending, we free ourselves as well; from waiting for a repayment that may or may not ever come; often turning into resentment. My mother loaned her brother $300 before she married, which was alot of money in 1948. He never paid her back. There were times in my youth I could hear bitterness in her voice as she had memories that he did not live up to his word. This reminds me of a quote heard long ago that I have not forgotten...
"Bitterness is the poison you drink, hoping someone else will die."
 

cathietherese

Catherine Davis
Past OR future Camino
SJPDP - Finistere May/June 2012
Le-Puy-en-Velay to Cahors/ June 2019
There is such wisdom on this thread. Thank you for the heartwarming accounts.

There have been instances when I have given money or other forms of assistance when maybe the person might have been ripping me off. In other words, disguised to look older, injured or so forth. In these moments, I have considered their spirit too is in disguise and then choose to freely give from myself - either way is good.

I say this in the hope and knowledge that when I know I have disguised spirit deliberately within myself someone will still reach for it anyway and dissolve my harmful mask - or not.

To me, the Camino spirit proves such deep implications of reciprocity more times than not. We humans keep fraught ledgers.

Jean Val Jean’s example in Les Miserables (with the stolen candlestick) seems to me to be woven through this thread. I agree with those who trust in a Creator/God who is better at math than me/us, by any account.
 

jbear

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPdP to SdC march-may 2015
I had one of my best Camino days and was so excited to tell someone, anyone, about it and I ran into a woman I would walk with sometimes (we walked at different paces but enjoyed chatting). I started to tell her all about it and she was smiling and happy for me but then got very upset. Turns out she was putting on a happy face while I told my story. She had been locked out of both her bank and credit card. She was a traditionalist and was walking without a phone.

I loaned her my phone and gave her some cash. I told her I didn’t want the money back but she said she would repay it. It took a few days, but she got things sorted out with the bank. After I returned home she mailed me a check even though I insisted she didn’t need to. I ended up giving it to a children’s charity. It was an all around meaningful experience for me (I just hate that she had to have that experience).
 
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Jacques Fayolle

New Member
Past OR future Camino
I will be walking the camino in June 2016
As I have eluded , Twas not me☺️ I do not need any further credit. Twas the higher Power🙏
Good on you for following your heart, your inner voice to help this pilgrim achieve his goal. Blessings to you and all the good samaritans on the way.
 

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