While experiencing the effects of a literal force of nature, whereby I lost a considerable amount of money, I also came to experience the kinship of my neighbours. Many are familiar with the account of the event on that windy March day in Port Hawkesbury, as several media outlets carried the story. What many are not acquainted with is the response of a few extraordinary people.

Several individuals helped me, a stranger, in trying to retrieve bills that were flying through the air so quickly that one could hardly follow them visually. These witnesses to the event endured a miserably cold, wet, and (obviously) windy day to assist someone with whom they had absolutely no connection. This act demonstrated that they had immediately made an assumption that I was a legitimate owner of money obtained honestly. They displayed the empathy of thinking how they would feel if it happened to them, and sprang into action. It is easy to stop and take time to make careful consideration on whether one should or should not act, deliberating on the risk and benefits of doing so. However, the speed with which these people provided the help clearly showed that they thought that they should do the right thing without thought of reward, consideration of whether I merited the help, or their own discomfort.

This is in sharp contrast to others who made the assumption that my plight was a scam, a result of carelessness, that perhaps the money was illegitimately or distastefully obtained, or that I would not be negatively affected by the loss because it was believed that only those with plenty of money would have been carrying that amount.

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I cannot adequately express in words my gratitude to Shelly Forgeron and her daughter and nephew, and to a gentleman and his wife who spent so much time to lend assistance to me. I regret not asking his name before we were separated. To Alan Findlay, who returned some of the found cash to the RCMP, my deepest thanks to you. I hope to be able to assist all of you some day in a similarly important time in your life. These people are truly selfless, decent human beings and deserve to be treated in kind by others.

It has been asked why this would happen to me, by well-meaning others attempting to be supportive as I assessed the loss. My response to this is that it was better to have happened to me than to someone less fortunate. I can still work, and have a job at which I have worked hard for 29 years. Though it will take considerable time, I will earn again what was lost.

Consider if that had happened to a senior who could no longer pay for heat, a single mother unable to buy groceries, someone unable to pay for a prescription, or someone unable to buy gas for or repair a car needed to get to work, or any hundreds of scenarios where the day-to-day life of someone would be devastated because of a similar loss.

On hearing the story and feeling badly about it, some have asked if there was anything they could do to help out. I am deeply appreciative of the offers, while I am not comfortable with my so-called 15 minutes of fame, I recognize that it does provide a platform. If I can do any good as a means to show thanks for the concern and help that I received, I would ask those reading this to look around purposely and recognize those in our community who might be in need of support and offer it to them. A selfless act of kindness and charity makes a difference, always.

I will remember and have gratitude for the people who leaped so quickly in to action to help.

Suzanne MacIntyre

River Bourgeois