LONDON DAILY MIRROR, 26/6/2011
Last Friday started out like any other Friday for Patricia C. Black of Bexley. Ms. Black, 38, a loan officer at Lloyds Bank in Middlesex, was at her desk trying to get some paperwork done before a staff meeting that was scheduled for 9:00 a.m. That was when Philippe Broussard, a recent immigrant from France, walked into her life.
Mr. Broussard, 21, approached Ms. Black and said that he wished to apply for a business loan.
“He was a bit difficult to understand,” Ms. Black told The Mirror. “His English was broken and very heavily accented.”
Ms. Black says she asked Mr. Broussard what sort of business he proposed to start, and Mr. Broussard replied that he planned to open a gift shop. He then opened his rucksack and removed a collection of small porcelain figurines, which he proceeded to line up along the edge of Ms. Black’s desk.
“He said that was what he planned to sell,” Ms. Black said. “I don’t mind telling you, I was a bit flummoxed. Chap looked a good deal too young to be starting a business, and honestly, the things he wanted to sell didn’t look like the sort of thing anyone in their right mind would buy.”
Ms. Black asked Mr. Broussard to tell her more about himself.
“He said that he had only recently arrived in the U.K., which came as no surprise, and that he had been unable to find a job, which also came as no surprise, with unemployment being so widespread,” she said.
“Then I asked him about his family, and that was when things became rather difficult to believe,” Ms. Black continued. “He said he’d been born in Paris, and that he was the love child of Colette Broussard — you know, the French supermodel — and Keith Richards. He told me he’d been unable to find work in Paris, and that he came to the U.K. because he thought his chances would be better here. And when he couldn’t find a job here either, he decided to start his own business.”
At that point, the bank president, Rupert J. Thistlewaite, happened to be passing by, and Ms. Black asked him if he might stop for a moment and listen to Mr. Broussard’s story.
Mr. Broussard once again told his story and repeated his request for a loan to start his business, as Mr. Thistlewaite listened attentively. When Mr. Broussard had finished speaking, Ms. Black picked up one of the figurines from her desk and handed it to the bank president.
“‘This is what he plans to sell,’ I told him,” Ms. Black said. “And I asked Mr. Thistlewaite what he made of it.”
According to Ms. Black, Mr. Thistlewaite looked at the figurine thoughtfully, then said, “It’s a knickknack, Patty Black. Give the frog a loan. His old man’s a Rolling Stone.”