herald

Monday 11 December 2017

Clampers kept at bay by 'Parking Angel' David

David Thompson, Parking Angel, Baggot st.
David Thompson, Parking Angel, Baggot st.
David Thompson, Parking Angel, Baggot st.

This is the homeless man who earns a living topping-up parking meters for Dublin office workers - so they won't get clamped.

David Thompson (53) can be found on Lower Baggot Street six days a week, where he feeds meters for local drivers.

David told the Herald how drivers give him their car keys and some change, and when he sees the parking police coming, he gets fresh tickets and puts them on the dashboard.

"I know most people who park along here - some give me money in the mornings, others when they finish work in the evening," he said.

"They give me change and let me keep anything that's left over, and then they might give me a few quid extra," he added.

David came over from the UK three years ago with some friends in the hope of getting a job in a car washing business.

But that fell through and David stayed in Dublin while his friends went back to England.

He said his earnings from commuters is enough for him to get by on, but it depends on the weather and how many are parking.

At night he stays in a hostel which costs him around €4.

The father-of-two has become trusted by those who hand over their car keys, and often gets a coffee or tea or a few sandwiches offered to him during the day as well.

"I have a friend who is trying to start a new car business in Dublin and he's trying to get me work," said David.

"I might go back to the UK, I just don't know," he added.

David's daughters sometimes ring him to see how he is doing,

"Plenty of people do alright from their lives on the streets. Hopefully I'll go home someday, but I'm content enough with my system right now," he explained.

When his day is over David goes to the local Tesco to convert his change to notes.

"I stay in the same spot during the day from Monday to Saturday and the gardai tend to say nothing," he said.

"But they do move beggars on if they are at ATM's or parking meters because it is a criminal offence to beg aggressively," he added.

David said he earns around €60 a day - which can vary depending on how many drivers park on the street for long enough that they need him to keep his eye on their cars.

"You can live on it anyway, so long as you're not spending too much on getting a bed for the night," he explained.

This morning David chatted with the local clamping crew as he started his days work.

cfeehan@herald.ie

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