CULTURE & ARTS
01/09/2015 04:15 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

British Teen Says A Stranger Gave Him A Banksy Print For A Random Act Of Kindness

Be kind. Help a stranger in need. The world needs kindness, plus you never know when that stranger might just be the elusive artist Banksy. Or was it?

A spokeswoman for the artist says no, but Ben Azarya, a schoolboy from Kendal, England, has a curious tale nonetheless. He says a fellow train passenger gave him a signed Banksy print after Azarya helped the man pick up some spray paint that had spilled from his bag.

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Azarya smiles with the signed Banksy print. If genuine, it could be worth an estimated $30,000.

Banksy, a street artist known for his politically-charged, sometimes whimsical art, keeps his identity a closely-guarded secret. One rumor has it that his real name is Robin Banks -- a name Azarya says he heard on the train.

“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," Ben told England's North West Evening Mail.

“I picked them up for him and after that he started signing it in weird letters and numbers," Ben continued. "He said, ‘Do you know who Robin Banks is?’ I said, 'No,' and he said, ‘This will be worth about £20,000 -– have a good life, brother.'”

A copy of the print in question, known as "Love is in the Air," sold at auction in June of 2013 for nearly $249,000:

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Gallery assistants adjust 'Love is in the Air' by Banksy ahead of its sale at Bonhams auction house in London on June 24, 2013.

Reached for comment by the Daily Mail, a spokeswoman representing Banksy denied any knowledge of Ben’s claim. “It has got nothing to do with him," she said. “[Banksy] doesn't know anything about it.”

According to the New York Daily News, Ben and his mother contacted Bonhams Auction House to have the piece authenticated. Should it prove to be the real thing, Ben says he'll likely sell it, buy a new phone, and save the rest.

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