‘It was sort of like you’re invisible’: Father who gave away cash on streets of Aylesbury speaks out

Dickon Johnstone gives away money in Market Square, Aylesbury
Dickon Johnstone gives away money in Market Square, Aylesbury

A father who gave away money in Aylesbury town centre has spoken about why he did it and how the experience opened his eyes to what life is like for homeless people.

Dickon Johnstone gave away £36 in Market Square after sitting down with a sign that said: “I have a job. I have a home. I have a car. I have good health. Would YOU like a couple of pounds for a coffee?”

Builder Mr Johnstone then gave the same amount to Children in Need and posted the video on YouTube, where it has been viewed thousands of times. But the stunt has left many asking why he did it.

“I like doing things that make people smile and laugh,” said Mr Johnstone, 38.

“I was going through the internet a week before and I saw a picture of a chap holding a sign saying something similar in America.

“I thought that was a great idea and was going to try it.

“Everybody says you don’t get something for nothing but I wanted to show that you can.”

Many people gave father-of-three Mr Johnstone quizzical looks as he sat outside Caffè Nero and four minutes passed before anyone took him up on his offer.

As well as taking money, some people posed for photos with the Aylesbury man and one pair even bought him a drink.

But Mr Johnstone admits there were some nerves before the stunt.

He said: “I was chatting to Daniel Kendall, who filmed it, and said I didn’t know if I want to do this.

“I have seen people give abuse to homeless people and I thought what happens if people do that?”

Mr Johnstone did not shave for a week before the event and deliberately did not wear smart clothes to give a slight impression of homelessness, but was shocked by the way some people ignored him.

He said: “Nobody really wants to make eye contact with you.

“It was sort of like you’re invisible.

“For homeless people that must be a soul-destroying feeling.

“That has been a real eye-opener.”

Mr Johnstone was previously in the spotlight after posing outside a Thame petrol station during the 2012 fuel crisis with a sign promising a ‘complimentary slap on the head’ for panic buyers.

And he may do more good deeds in Aylesbury after his recent success, although has not decided exactly what.

You can watch the video of him in Market Square on YouTube.