THE Scottish government has conceded that the dishevelled young
man it gave 50 pence to last year has probably spent it on
drugs or alcohol.
Ministers said the man had seemed genuine in his appeal for bus fare and that the situation was given added urgency as he had to get home in time for his daughter’s birthday party.
Justice minister Kenny MacAskill said: “I saw no reason to doubt his story. He had obviously not had much sleep – I assume because he had missed his last bus the day before and then been up all night with worry after his wallet was eaten by that horse.
“His fatigue had also clearly caused him to fall into a hedge because there were scratch marks all over his forearms.
“And in a desperate bid to get some sleep – and be nice and fresh for the party – he had obviously found it necessary to drink at least two pints of whisky.
“It was also very apparent that he had been unable to find a suitable place to urinate during the night and had eventually been forced to use his own underpants.”
He added: “However, it has now been a year and despite giving him my name and address, I have still not received my cheque for 50 pence.
“I am now beginning to suspect that there was no bus. And I’m also beginning to wonder if this gentleman even has a daughter.”
MacAskill admitted his legal options were limited and that the money was ‘probably gone for good’ but stressed the next time he was asked for bus fare by a tired, drunk, urine-soaked man he would be sure to take their name and address as well.