A group of British men reportedly on a stag do approached Tomek, a 34-year-old Polish man living on the streets in Benidorm, and offered him €100 to get the stag’s name inked on his face.
He was taken to a tattoo parlour where a tattooist agreed to write “Jamie Blake, North Shields, N28” but stopped after the name and first two letters of the town after Tomek complained it was too painful.
The stunt was posted on Facebook and picked up in British tabloids provoking widespread fury, not least among the British community living in Benidorm.
Karen Maling Cowles, the president of the Benidrom British Business association and coincidentally a partner in one of the resort’s tattoo parlours, RKA Tattoos. wrote an angry post about it calling for the tattoo artist responsible to be named and shamed.
“This is disgusting to think not only 100 euros was paid to this beggar by a tourist to have it done ,but more so what tattoo shop did this should be ashamed of themselves not tattoo artists as any professional would not do this!!! Please help us name and shame the shop that did this !!
She then decided to track down Tomek and offer him some help.
She said she found Tomek sleeping on the beach where he was jaundiced, had the shakes and told her he was an alcoholic. He told her that he walked to Benidorm from Poland after suffering a breakdown with the break-up of a relationship and suffered terrible back pain.
He admitted that of the €100 he had been given, some had been spent on booze and the rest was stolen from his pocket as he slept on the beach that night.
She had originally come up with the idea of raising money within the expat community in Benidorm to pay for tattoo removal for Tomek, but on meeting him realised that a lot more could be done.
“The removal of the tattoo is important because that shows that we do not accept that, but the rest of his life is very important,” she said. “Getting to know him, his needs are great. I want to get him the help he needs.”
The ‘Help Tomek’ campaign has been set up on Crowdfunding site, gofundme with the target of €3,000.
Meanwhile, Jamie Blake, the man whose name is inked onto Tomek’s forehead spoke out to ‘set the record straight’.
The 37-year-old told Chronicle Live that it wasn’t technically a stag do because he had split up from his intended but decided to go ahead with the gathering in Benidorm anyway.
He insisted:“I was not there at the time. There was a big group of around 30 of us drinking in the bar.
“There was a group of Irish lads there as well and Tomek. He isn’t homeless, he lives with my friend and works on the strip.
“I got drunk and was asked to leave the bar. I was never in the tattoo parlour and as far as I know he was not paid any money.”