Thanks to the generosity of anonymous Aldergrove donors and a local business, Raymond Swinfen—an 84 year old resident and veteran—can now drive again.
Swinfen was a victim of two smash-and-grab robberies at Aldergrove’s Willow Creek Estates, the second occurring on February 4.
Cindy Mcinnis, a sales associate at Novus Auto (formerly A-1 Glass) for three years, first noticed a Facebook post where one of Swinfen’s neighbors detailed the incident Sunday night:
“An elderly neighbor in our condo building who was hit by a smash and grab in our underground parkade only a few days before Christmas was just hit again last night when our gate was open during the power outage,” the neighbour (who chooses to remain anonymous) posted.
“This man is a war veteran, on a limited monthly income. It is a passenger side window in a late 90’s or early 2000’s Jeep Liberty. It is so unfair he has to deal with this again.”
Mcinnis acted quickly by calling both her Regional Manager and glass manufacturer in hopes of securing some sort of discount for Ray.
Novus Glass was able to waive the cost of re-installation labor and glass shard cleaning and only charge Swinfen at cost for the passenger side glass ($100).
Within 24 hours from the initial break in, 125$ was hand-delivered to the auto-glass shop off of Fraser Highway and 275 A Street by six anonymous local donors that saw the posting.
Due to the volume of the community’s generosity, there was money left over for Cindy to gift Raymond with.
“I’ve never known such kindness. I really haven’t,” said Swinfen as he received the extra $25.
“I can’t believe it – how can I possibly thank these people?”
Swinfen moved to Aldergrove 20 years ago be closer to his wife, who is housed in a Surrey centre with round-the-clock caretakers due to her persistent alzheimer’s. The two have been married for more than 60 years.
“She can’t talk, she can’t walk, but I cuddle her and make sure she knows who I am everytime I visit,” Swinfen said.
When asked about where he will spend the extra cash, the veteran replied: “a nice dinner out at White Spot.”
Workers at Novus Glass cleared the car door, console and surrounding areas of glass shards from the break-in. They also filled a crack in the jeep’s front window, at no charge.
The auto-glass repair would have cost Raymond upwards of 300$, a typical amount for an ICBC deductible.
“It’s not just us,” said Mcinnis. “It’s the community that reached out, and we’re here for the community. If we can help out in any way we’re more than willing to.”