Tuesday 4th october 2011, Bordeaux, France.
I was sitting in an internet café in a tiny village deep in the Cognac region, trying to work out how to ask the manageress if she would take part in Wearelucky. The bar had just been taken over by an English couple and we had previously stayed up talking 'til late in the night. As I sat trying to summon the right words, their entire family arrived for a two week holiday. The moment had passed and I was annoyed with myself.
I got up to leave and overheard a girl in cycling gear saying her goodbyes to people in the bar. In return they wished her good luck. I couldn’t quite work out what she was doing but it sounded interesting and I was desperate to do my first totally random Wearelucky, so I followed her out of the bar and asked what she was up to. My adrenalin was really pumping and I didn’t listen to a word she said in response. I blurted out something about Wearelucky and sprinted to the bank, somehow managing to smoke 2 cigarettes on the way. I ran back, presented her with the cash and asked if I could take her photograph. I think I directed her pretty well, but I didn't want to hold her up. She looked a little bemused, but pocketed the cash, thanked me and cycled off in the general direction of London. I felt elated.
Questions & Answers
1. What have you decided to do with the money?
The donation is being put towards Friends of Hector
, an outreach campaign aiming to galvanise support for shark protection and conservation minded fishing practices. Hector the Blue Shark and I set off on a cycling journey from Northern Spain to London, to raise awareness for shark conservation. Often people care very much about issues, but have no way to engage themselves. We spend time interacting with people around the world through our social media and face to face events, discussing ideas, presenting our policy and demonstrating our scientific work. In response, people have supported our call to action by sending letters and photos of Hector to decision makers, letting them know that citizens are watching. The cycling trip was very much on a shoestring budget, but the Wearelucky donation meant that we were able to engage in more stops than planned and reach out to a wider audience.
2. Is it important to get something back and why?
Doing something and expecting to receive in return is the cause of much conflict and suffering. Expectation leads to disappointment. Although it is difficult in practice, I think we should strive to give and do what we feel is right without expectation of gain or reward.