Thursday 1st November 2012, Cape Town.
I met Antonio over breakfast at the beautiful Mount Nelson, an old colonial style hotel in Cape Town. It was a slightly bizarre experience, as I was sitting with film producers and directors and talking about Wearelucky. One of their researchers had come across my website while looking for 'random acts of kindness' and they wanted to include my story in their commercial project. When I first started handing out wads of cash, I never really thought that Wearelucky would extend beyond documenting the Lucky People and it was strange and exhilarating to discover that other people found it fascinating.
But was this project – an advert for Coca-Cola – right for Wearelucky? I wasn't sure and – to be honest – I still don't know. But there was never really a master plan and so I decided to just roll with it. What's the worst that can happen? Oh shit, wrong drink...
It felt a bit weird acting out the process of finding Lucky People and giving them the money, but – in my head at least– I was looking cool as I bowled down the street. A bit like Richard Ashcroft in the video for Bittersweet Symphony. Someone from the crew would signal 'Action!' and I'd give it my best pimp roll as the camera followed behind. I was told to keep walking until someone from the crew yelled to stop. It was working out just fine until I set off on the umpteenth take down a flight of steps, through an underpass and off into the CBD area of Cape Town, all the time listening hard for the shout of 'CUT!'. But this time it never came, so I just carried on walking. I convinced myself that I was doing a fantastic job and I was sure the crew would be delighted with the footage. Yeah, this was really acting. Except when I eventually chanced a look back, there was no camera to be seen. It took forever to find my way back, but the crew seemed to enjoy my sheepish return.
I liked Antonio a lot. He has an immediate impact on those around him. He's an attractive man with dark hair, dark skin and an exotic accent. The sort of bloke my mum would fancy. He has a humble and unassuming temperament and offers a thoughtful insight into the world around him. He told me about a friend who's in the process of creating a safe haven for street kids in Hogsback, a village in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. Antonio was planning to spend some time there, helping out with the building projects and it was blindingly obvious to me that he should be the next Lucky Person. After all, I had a pretty good idea about where the cash would be heading...
Questions & Answers
1. What have you decided to do with the money?
2. What were the reasons driving that decision and what are you hoping it will achieve?
My wife and I have supported this project for seven years. It feels like our personal project. I believe in Linzi Thomas, who worked with street kids in Capetown for the last 14 years. I know that every penny will go towards something good.
3. Is it important to get something back and why?
I think by giving, you instantly get something back. It's a feeling of joy that is not materialistic.
4. What are your overall thoughts and feelings regarding Wearelucky?
I think it is such a beautiful thing. It must surely make other people think differently about giving.