SHAME on Thame. I always thought this was a town with a heart, always willing to lend a hand and help a stranded visitor.
And now it seems my whole world has been based on a lie.
Just before Christmas I was walking through Thame when a slightly scruffy man stepped out of the shadows.
And trust me; if a man is scruffier than me then he is in trouble. “Excuse me mate,” he said as I looked behind me. Damn he was talking to me.
“Could you spare any change? I need to get a train back to Slough and I haven’t quite got enough.”
“Sorry mate,” I replied, always happy to make a new friend, “I haven’t got any money on me. But good luck.”
This was quick thinking and I was quite impressed by myself as I pushed through the door into Corals to do my football coupon.
Just like I hadn’t spared him any change, I then didn’t spare him a thought throughout the festive period but then last week as I was wandering through Thame the very same man approached me once more.
“Excuse me mate,” he began in a familiar manner.
“I need to get a train down to Slough and I haven’t quite got enough money.”
Well, readers, I was extremely disillusioned. Just three weeks and he had already forgotten me. I am hurt. But actually I was more disappointed in you lot.
This poor man has been wandering our streets for almost a month and nobody has given him either the fare home or, perhaps more usefully, a rail map to show him that trains don’t run from Thame to Slough.
I would have helped this second time but only had enough for the papers, a cup of coffee, and a few bits and pieces in Sainsbury’s.
But the rest of you should be ashamed. How many of you has he asked? Did nobody give him the money?
Did nobody tell him to use Trainline to ensure that next time he gets a discounted rate and a guaranteed seat on the train home?
No, you just left him didn’t you?
Well this page is here for good causes and I like to think that I can do more than just give people the money they need.
I am therefore using this page to help.
I demand that the new Sainsbury’s is shelved.
Scrap the new store and instead build what the town actually needs. I demand that we build a direct, high speed train link to Slough. That, my friend is the real Big Issue for Thame.
(Footnote: This week’s article is based on a true story. But yes, I just wanted to use the ‘Sainsbury’s should be shelved’ line that I thought up).