Paying it Forward 23 Years Later
In my role, I get daily notifications of online donations made to Semiahmoo House Society. While I am always happy to see any donation, this one caught my eye.
The donation was made on line and contained a comment: “Someone working on your property accidentally damaged my vehicle years ago. You covered fixing the damage because I couldn’t at the time. It’s time I replaced that money.”
Curious, I emailed the donor, who’s name is Craig, “I would like to personally thank you for your generous donation. I am fascinated by what motivated you to donate and am wondering if you would be willing to meet with me and tell your story. It would make for a great feature on our blog.”
A few hours later, Craig responded:
Thanks for your email. I debated even putting that note in there, but it has bothered me for years now … twenty-three to be precise.
It’s not much of a story, and somewhat embarrassing to be frank. In 1996 I was “between jobs” and temporarily moved in with my mother, who lived in “The Peninsula” town house complex at the corner of 24th and 152nd. (Ironically, years later I bought in here, although I’m actually moving out very soon.) The council decided to enforce a by-law against my parking my car in the visitor parking, and I parked it on the road next to your old building, the “shack” you had before what is now your “new” building. One day I found one of the passenger side windows smashed. A note was left with a phone number, but I immediately thought the worst despite the fact that I don’t think anything was stolen.
Anyway, to make a long story short I phoned the number (which I just assumed was for a witness to vandalism) and it was your organisation. It turns out that a stone had been thrown by a lawnmower working on your property, an appointment was made with White Rock Glass (if I remember correctly) and your organisation paid the bill. I’d have paid it, but at the time I was the best charity case I knew! I think White Rock Glass gave you a bit of a break on the bill, but my vague recollection was that it was around $200.
Anyway, if you would like to feature the story on your blog I’m fine with that … although I suspect there are more interesting and deserving stories to be told. If you’d still like to meet I’m happy to pop over for a chat, although the rest of this week is pretty busy.
I thanked Craig for his response and asked him if I could blog his wonderful story, which says so much about his life’s journey and his character. He never forgot an act of kindness for which he was intent to reciprocate in his own way and at a time he could.I’m so glad that he wrote his comment on the online donation form. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be blogging this great story.
Louise Tremblay, Director of Development at UNITI