The Greek economic crisis has given us many images of shattered citizens, but the photograph of despairing pensioner Giorgios Chatzifiotiadis, weeping on the street outside a bank he was unable to withdraw money has resulted in a good news story. A Sydney man has come forward after recognising Mr Chatzifiotiadis, offering him a lifeline. James Koufos is flying to Greece to help the pensioner who was an old friend of his father’s. He had urged his Facebook friends to help him locate the man.
The steady stream of images depicting struggling pensioners seems to sum up the heartbreak of the country’s everyday people.
The Australian finance CEO has been affected by the photographs, and has vowed to pay the pension of the 77-year-old man who is but one of the casualties of the Greek economic crisis. Mr Chatzifiotiadis had broken down, crying uncontrollably after waiting in line at four banks without managing to withdraw his 120 Euro weekly pension.
‘It’s an amazing and rare chance to really help someone… we have been told exactly where he lives in the village. My mum (who still lives in Greece) got really emotional when she saw the story, so did I… it motivated me to do something.” said Mr Koufos.
Mr Koufos was deeply affected by the image and said he was motivated to help his father’s old school friend, who had worked hard his entire life and was now unable to feed his family.
The businessman insists he doesn’t want any attention from his act of kindness and has remained out of the spotlight.
Greece’s place in the European Union and economic stability has taken a precarious turn with the people overwhelmingly voting no to the conditions set out in an assistance package from creditors.