Wednesday 13th June 2012, St Fort sur Gironde, France.
It was immediately clear that Bar L'Amacil was a special place. There's a welcoming air in the room, art and photographs hang from every inch of the walls and there's a little market selling Bovril and Paxo and other English things that are usually impossible to find in France. People smiled and nodded, unsure if I was French or English, but seeing as my French only extends as far as ordering a beer, any doubt soon evaporated. It was the night of the England v France match and I chatted with bar staff and punters for a while before taking my seat in front of le tele.
I am constantly trying to give up cigarettes and I always feel embarrassed about smoking but I just can't seem to stop. The match kicked off as the nicotine craving kicked in, but there were no cigarettes for sale at the bar. The nearest tabac was at least 10km away but just as it looked as though the next 90 minutes were going to be even more infuriating than usual, Jane appeared with another beer and a pack of Camel. She gave me a wink and said she'd add them to my tab. Result! – I'd only been there 10 minutes and already I had a tab and a wink. This place was truly amazing.
I decided to ask Jane to be the next Lucky Person. Not because she helped to satisfy my nicotine addiction, but because she and her husband had created a wonderful place with a fantastic atmosphere and genuine warmth. I popped in the next day, handed Jane an invite and told her all about Wearelucky. Jane was a human rights lawyer in a previous life and she currently runs art-based community projects from the bar in St Fort, so she had some hard thinking to do. I congratulated myself on a good choice, ordered a beer and tried to ignore the intense craving to smoke.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
Astonishment and elation. So many negative events recently had clouded my perception of humanity, but this definitely gave me a huge lift.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
My first thought was my usual impulsive reaction. As an ex-human rights lawyer I immediately think of child war victims, but I'm using it to promote the recreational, artistic and cultural pursuits in the local commune. The cafe is rapidly becoming the centre of the village for all nationalities and I want to promote musical, literary, comic, sporting and culinary events. Also debates, drama and much more. I have been so poor since setting up this business that my 4 granddaughters have not had a single present for Christmas or birthday for over 18 months so I will also do something for them.
3. What does good mean to you?
Having studied legal philosophy that is not such an easy question! I suppose just living ethically and helping wherever and whenever and bringing smiles to peoples faces.
4. Is it better to make a small impact on a big problem or a big impact on a small problem?
Both have their place. What distresses me most is the widening divide between the developed and developing world and a lot of that is caused by the international (undemocratic) community, governments, multinationals and NGOs approaching big problems in the wrong way.
5. What are your overall thoughts and feelings about Wearelucky?
I think it is an inspired idea and the site is an inspiration. I will pass it on to all my friends, family and acquaintances.