I was having a chat with John and Gail Dance the other day. John has been volunteering in this community since before the Earth cooled, organizing festivals, community days, parades or Rotary functions. Gail has been a hockey mom and billeted hockey players for weekends or tournaments, spoiling them with their swimming pool and hot tub. Our conversation turned to how some folks just seem to have that black cloud overhead.
It seems some friends had experienced a workplace accident and after some unsuccessful, expensive challenges with Worksafe BC, they had to restructure their lives. Their son was an aspiring goalie but they couldn’t afford to buy him new skates. Gail needed some house painting done so the family did the job and their son got the skates.
Times were still tough and even though the 17-year-old was delivering flyers to help out, a $200 trip to an Okanagan hockey tournament was out of the question. The family wouldn’t take a handout, so Gail “hired” them to clean out her front gardens for the winter. This included a night’s stayover and a hot tub for mom and son.
During the night the black cloud appeared. Someone broke into their car and stole, among other things, the boy’s goalie stick. The family was devastated. Food and gas and hotel money for the trip did not leave any extra for a new stick.
Gail was on her way back from a dentist appointment and knowing the family would not let her buy a goalie stick, she stopped by the pro shop at Twin Rinks and told her story. The man took down a new Sherwood stick, handed it to her and said. “I’ll give you 50 per cent off and the Sherwood rep will look after the other 50 per cent.”
The rest of the story involves two moms crying over a goalie stick in the driveway so we’ll leave it there.
So why do some people have a run of bad luck, experience continual trials and tribulations? My theory is that it happens so that other people have the chance to step up to the plate. We saw a frightening plane crash in Richmond last week. Some people rose to the challenge and risked their lives; most of them saying they acted instinctively.
These acts of courage and kindness are also inspiring to those that are experiencing the bad luck. At the Christmas Bureau, we see many people who have needed help in past years come and give back when their circumstances change. We hear over and over again that the fact someone was there to extend a hand when they were down, encouraged them to get back on their feet. Some of these folks are our most dedicated volunteers.
We never know when the work accident, the car accident or the health issue will negatively affect us but we will sure be thankful if there is someone there when we need them.
John and Gail and the fellow from Twin Rinks did not do what they did for any type of recognition, but I do believe they sleep pretty good at night. Sometimes, when fortunate people are faced with challenges or problems, they are stimulated to just do that little bit extra, to give a little more and in the end, get a little more.
Take a look around. Maybe somebody close by would really appreciate your hand, if you’re willing to take theirs. At least that’s what McGregor says.