A teenage boy who helped a stranger on a train in Cumbria, northwest England, was handsomely rewarded by the man, who claimed to be celebrated street artist Banksy. According to the New York Daily News, fourteen-year-old Ben Azarya met a man on the train who introduced himself as Robin Banks. Azarya explained the encounter:
"He opened his rucksack and had a gas mask and spray paints inside. He got out a piece of paper and had colors marked on it of what he had been trying out and he dropped his colors."
Azarya helped the stranger pick up his paints. The man asked the teenager if he knew who Robin Banks was. When Azarya replied that he did not, the man handed him the artwork, said that it would be worth around $30,000, and bid him farewell by saying, "Have a good life, brother."
Azarya described the notoriously camera shy artist, whose description has heretofore been unknown, as a fortyish, white man with "scruffy clothes" and an old, fluffy hat. Azarya said,
"He had a little jacket that didn't go over his arms and jeans with paint on. He looked really wacky and had blonde hair and blue eyes."
Azarya and his family have been advised to authenticate the print, and if it's found to be authentic, the teen has plans to sell it.
What an exciting encounter, particularly for a young boy! Read more at the NY Daily News.
UPDATE: Alas, a spokesperson for Banksy informed BBC Radio Bristol that the stranger Ben says he encountered on the train was not Banksy. Tough break. For Ben's sake, I was really hoping that story would pan out.