Story By: Joseph Golder, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
A man was fined 100 EUR for giving a begging woman and her baby 70 cents at a train station so she could buy food.
The incident took place at the Matabiau train station in Toulouse, the capital of the department of Haute-Garonne in the southern French region of Occitanie when the man was fined 100 EUR (85 GBP) for giving 0.70 EUR (0.86 EUR) to a woman who was begging with her child.
The man, whose identity has not been revealed but who is 31, was fined by the security services of the national railway company, the SNCF, for “solicitation”. The man said he was fined “for having given less than a euro to a lady.”
The man said: “I was going home from work and was going to stop by the library. Before, I stopped to withdraw some money from the ATM inside the station. There, a woman came up to me. She wanted me to buy her something to eat.”
He said that he was in a rush and did not have time but he looked in his pockets anyway for any loose change he might have.
He added: “This is when the security officers arrived. They explained to me that begging was forbidden in a public space and that I should not give the woman anything. And that if I did there could be consequences. I found this exuberant so I gave her the coins I had anyway: 70 cents and a few red ones. There was not even a euro there.”
One of the agents then got out their fine book. The man was slapped with a 50-EUR (43-GBP) fine for “solicitation” along with 50 EUR as a “processing fee.”
The man said: “I have two months to pay the 100 EUR, all because I gave some coins to someone in need!”
He added: “I decided to speak up about this because I was astounded by the attitude of the security personnel.”
After being contacted by local media, the SNCF reportedly backed down and decided to cancel the fine. It justified its actions by saying that begging “was a recurring problem at the Toulouse train station that creates a feeling of insecurity with our clients”.
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