Earlier this month, it was revealed that one of the victims of the June 4th London terrorist attack was a young woman from Castlegar, BC. Her name was Chrissy Archibald, and she died in the arms of her fiance after being mercilessly run down on the London Bridge. The response was obviously heartbreak and rage, but once it was known how she worked in a shelter called Alpha House in Calgary, and had deep compassion for the poor, people began to donate to various causes in her name. It was the right response, and the best way to honour her life.
I continued to scroll through the CBC newsfeed and buried below was an article in the Indigenous news section about an incredibly moving act of generosity and sacrifice. In Thunder Bay, Ontario a homeless man donated $10,000, which he received as a result of enduring the residential schooling system to Shelter House for the homeless. The outreach workers even tried to return the cheque, but he refused. He wished to remain anonymous and simply stated that he wanted to make sure his friends were safe since this low-barriers shelter was under threat.
Good God this chokes me up! I can’t even comprehend the suffering he must have endured as a child, and in his life that followed such trauma. Of all people a residential school survivor who is homeless living in such a harsh winter environment needs the money, but he chose to give it away for his friends.
There was an earlier news story in April of how the Matawa First Nations challenged the residents of Thunder Bay to support this shelter, and the representative was presenting a $10,000 cheque. The call was probably directed towards businesses and individuals looking for a tax return and a positive media spotlight, not a homeless man.
This act of generosity is like a modern-day version of “The Widow’s Offering.” In a time when most people are consumed with getting into the realty market, paying off their mortgage, dreaming about luxury items and vacations, and saving for retirement, a humble First Nations man invests in his friends’ well-being.
There’s now a social media movement related to Chrissy Archibald, where people post a hashtag #Chrissysentme to the tweets, posts and videos showcasing their various acts of giving. I know that the sentiments are good, since it keeps this woman’s memory alive in spite of the evil that took her life, and it results in generosity for those who are in need. I just wonder why the general public likes to make a spectacle of donating? This tendency should be ingrained in our DNA.
I should not be critical because it’s human nature to want affirmation, and it is inspiring people who perhaps never thought about giving to others. I think I just prefer quiet acts of kindness, like the situation in Thunder Bay. I hope that this man is blessed in all his remaining days on earth.