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Langley's 'scooter man' died doing what he loved

Cliff Steele, Langley’s Scooter Man, passed away at the age of 93 on Friday. - Monique Tamminga/Langley Times file photo
Cliff Steele, Langley’s Scooter Man, passed away at the age of 93 on Friday.
— image credit: Monique Tamminga/Langley Times file photo

Langley’s “Scooter Man” has died.

At 93 years old, Cliff Steele lived his life with his foot on the throttle and that’s how he died, said his daughter Darlene.

“Dad was a man of action and he died in action,” she said on Monday.

On Friday, after working on the scooters he was repairing, he walked from his garage to the adjoining door to his home and collapsed.

He died not long after in hospital, from a ruptured aneurism in his aorta.

“He died very suddenly and was in no pain,” she said.

For the past five years, the spry senior had been quietly buying used scooters and electric wheelchairs and fixing them up to give to people in need, for free, no strings attached.

“I refurbish them and give them to people who need them. It’s a free service I’ve been offering and I’ve given away around 20 of them,” Steele told The Times in March.

With a background in mechanics, refurbishing scooters was a hobby and pleasure, he said.

He was able to refurbish up to three scooters a day, if given the product, he said.

Not only did he give the scooters away, which cost around $4,000 to buy new, but he also did all the maintenance on them for free for the duration of the equipment’s existence.

With 20 already given away, he was in regular contact with most of the people who own the scooters now.

“A lot of these people were housebound before, and they get a new life when they get a scooter,” he said.

Steele had recently called The Times to say that since the article came out about him, the response had “been outstanding.”

Not only were many people willing to donate scooters, but he had met a man willing to do the electrical aspects of the scooters and another who volunteered to pick up and drop off the scooters that were donated or bought by Steele.

Darlene has worked all weekend to get all the information about those waiting for a scooter from Steele.

“Everyone that was on the wait list will get a scooter,” she said.

But she has asked that no more scooters be donated.

When The Times asked why Steele was wanting to donate his time for others, his reply was simple: “When life has been good to you, do good for others.”

He lived life to the fullest, even getting his second hole in one at Langley Golf Centre last week.

Recently, a teacher at an elementary school showed the article about Steele to his Grade 7 students and asked them to write a letter about what they think of his acts of kindness.

Luckily, he got to read every single “heartwarming” letter just last week when they arrived in the mail.

“These 11-year-old kids’ words were so thoughtful, so touching,” said Darlene.

A celebration of Steele’s life will be held at one of his favourite places, the Langley Seniors Centre, on Saturday, June 16 at 2 p.m.

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