British tourists on a stag party in Benidorm have provoked outrage by paying a homeless man to have the name of the groom tattooed on his forehead, a local business leader has said.
Karen Maling Cowles, the president of the Benidorm British Business Association, said the group gave 34-year-old Tomek, originally from Poland, €100 (£89) to have “Jamie Blake, North Shields, NE28” inked on his head, although it was not completed because he was in too much pain.
Residents of the Spanish resort criticised the stag group after the tattoo parlour posted a photo on Facebook, since taken down, of Tomek getting the tattoo.
Maling Cowles, who tracked Tomek down after seeing the picture, said: “I was shocked to actually see it staring out at you. On a human level, that’s disgusting; that could be my son. The community is disgusted about it and many tourists too. It’s awful, taking a vulnerable person’s situation and thinking throwing a bit of money gives you a quick bit of fun.”
She said Tomek was jaundiced, had the shakes and told her he was an alcoholic. He said he had walked 2,700km to Benidorm after the collapse of his relationship with his girlfriend, and as a result had back pain which visibly hampered his ability to walk.
He added that after spending some of the money the British tourists had paid him, he was attacked and robbed of the remaining €17 on the beach.
“Anybody comes to offer any homeless person €100, he takes it,” said Maling Cowles, whose husband is a tattoo artist. “That’s what happens to vulnerable people sadly. He was embarrassed when I approached him because he was covered in sand because he’d been sleeping on the beach. I said, ‘I’m going to do something to try to help you’ and he took my hand and kissed it and said, ‘You’re an angel’.”