This was a random act of kindness (RAK) from one busker to another. Firstly, here’s a bit of background about our local Banjo Man.
Banjo Man entertains Medway
Most people local to Gillingham and Chatham will have heard the slow finger-picking sound of who we affectionately call ‘Banjo Man’ strumming away in the high streets of Medway.
Many a time I’ve found myself wandering along with some ‘plinker plink’ finger-picking tune in my head. On a good day, you can see him in his full glory standing there like Elvis Presley in his black leather ’68 comeback special’ suit, banjo astride of him while he struts around drawing attention from all around. Mostly though, he’s sat in a doorway hoping for a little change from a sympathetic passer by.
The set doesn’t change much but he is very consistent, coming out to play in all weathers. We’ve even seen him out with the revellers in Rochester and always draws a crowd of people wanting a ‘selfie’ with the musician we all see so often around the Medway Towns.
Random act of kindness for Medway Banjo Man
The day this RAK happened was a Saturday (August 1st 2015) and I was sitting outside Costa Coffee in Gillingham High Street enjoying a large latte with my wife.
Across the road, outside the Nationwide was Banjo Man having a gentle strum on his banjo. He was standing when we first arrived but it was late in the afternoon so there were not that many people in the high street.
Another guy carrying an instrument walked past and was heading for the station. We overheard him saying that he was heading up to London to catch the partygoers and busk where the people are in abundance. For this article, we’ll call him ‘London Busker’.
When he noticed Banjo Man playing, he acknowledged him and they exchanged a few words. He then continued on his way. We thought it was nice to see him stop and share a few words and we continued to enjoy our coffee, content that there were still a few kind-hearted people in Medway. I jest 🙂
London Busker returns with a box
A few minutes later we saw the London Busker return and stop outside the Nationwide near where Banjo Man was sitting. He had a box of (what looked like) Magnum ice cream lollies. We were surprised to see him offer one to the Banjo Man and when he accepted, his face lit up and he looked to be thoroughly enjoying the gesture.
He then give the best gift of all – his time.
Going back to the beginning when we first saw the London Busker, I want to note that he was not meandering along taking in the sights on the way to the station. He was on a mission to catch a train to London to earn his living and was walking at quite a pace with his guitar strapped to his back and bag packed ready for the journey.
Not only did he give the Banjo Man an ice cream, he then chose to sit with him and share both his treats and his time. We observed them both chatting away and the joy he passed on was evident. Banjo Man was smiling and chatting along as if he was hanging out in the high street with his best pal – and just for that moment he was.
It was fantastic to see one human being extend such brotherly love for another human being with absolutely no personal gain whatsoever. He was there for at least 20 minutes, if not longer – and he seemed genuinely happy to be there.
It certainly restored our faith in humanity. I just had to get a picture and share this truly humbling experience. I’m grateful to have personally witnessed it.