Editorial: The spirit of community is alive and well in Quesnel

One unfortunate incident has been turned around to foster charity, giving and forgiveness

Earlier this week (Observer, Wednesday Nov. 28, A2), we wrote about an 81-year-old woman, Maude Wales, who had her mobility scooter stolen from her building.

Having an item of personal property stolen is (unfortunately) not a very rare occurrence, but when we heard about Wales having her scooter stolen, we decided it was newsworthy because this was her mode of transportation. Without it, Wales said she can’t get around to do her shopping or make visits.

Within an hour of sharing the story to our Facebook page, the post had received many comments and – most heartwarmingly – many offers of help.

One local man offered to donate an electric wheelchair he had, and another woman began spearheading a fundraising campaign, to help purchase a new or used scooter for Wales.

A fundraising Facebook page, entitled Maude’s Stolen Scooter, already has 205 members, and locals are working to find donation drop off points. As page creator Shaneen Alana Smith said in her comments on our story: “There are at least 2,000 people in Quesnel. Who wants to pitch in one dollar [each] and buy this woman a new scooter? Who’s with me?”

Within minutes others had posted their agreement, with some pledging to donate higher sums.

The story is just one example of the ways Quesnel citizens often go above and beyond to help each other. For every person who may go about doing something just downright mean, like stealing a mobility scooter, there are 15 – or 205 – who are willing to pitch in and make things right.

And one of the best things about this story? In our interview with Wales, which took place not long after she discovered her scooter stolen, she had already forgiven the thief.

“I’ve asked the Lord to bless him,” she said, “or whoever it was that took it. They obviously needed it more than I did.”

While we are not sure if that’s true, or where the thief would even be able to sell such an item, forgiveness is always a good lesson to promote, in a time when we see far too many social media posts calling for vigilante justice when property is stolen.

An unfortunate incident has been turned on its head, to become a story of the spirit of charity, giving and turning the other cheek. What could be a better outcome than that?

If you’d like to contribute to the fundraising initiative for a scooter, you can donate via GoFundMe, or drop off cash donations at Joe And Sylvia’s Thrift Store, 668 Doherty Drive; Quesnel Family Thrift Shop, 170 Front Street; or Berge’s Styling, 398 St. Laurent Avenue.

Visit www.facebook.com/groups/302431493941588/ for updates.

-Quesnel Cariboo Observer

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