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Red Deer man ready to pay it forward again

It’s not every day someone gets a second chance.

But a Red Deer man who lost it all, and got it back, is about to pay it forward again — despite getting hit with criticism for one of his previous random acts of kindness.

“Jim,” not his real name, said Tuesday he does not want special recognition, or a pat on the back. It’s simply giving back — nothing complicated.

Jim is the same man who went into a Tim Hortons in Red Deer and paid for 500 cups of coffee, to the tune of $850, in July 2013.

He had heard about someone else in Edmonton doing something similar and thought it would be kind of cool to do it in Red Deer. So he did.

He and his wife were then quite surprised and upset with some negative reaction that followed.

In a letter to the Advocate this week, Jim said: “My wife and I were shocked and sickened to hear/read about the amount of people who went out of their way to criticize me for either buying people coffee who they think can already afford the luxury, thought that it was a marketing scam for (Tim Hortons), thought I should have spent my money on the homeless, taken my money to the food bank, given it to the women’s shelter, given it to Red Cross, and the list goes on.

“The irony of these comments is that we actually do give to the homeless . . . women’s shelter . . . Red Cross . . . Salvation Army . . . food bank . . . Third World countries . . . etc., and it is a lot more than what we spend on coffees.”

“There are a lot of good people out there. Lot of people loved it. Lot of people were appreciative of it . . . but there’s a few that just wouldn’t let it go,” said Jim in an interview with the Advocate.

“The thing is I do spend my money somewhere else. But it’s like I don’t go around and advertise I did this this week and I did this last year. Kind of like defeating the whole purpose of trying to give, you know.”

On the bright side, there was a lot of positive reaction to the Tim Hortons donation as well.

Jim’s undertaken random acts of kindness for the past 10 years.

“I’m doing it because I’ve gone through some hardships and been in places I shouldn’t have been in in the first place.”

At a very low point in his life, he made a vow: “If I ever get myself back together I’m going to give back to my community when I can.”

“I don’t want recognition. I’m not looking for any of that.”

Come Thursday, he will again pay it forward at a certain Dairy Queen in Red Deer.

He is paying for 500 treats to be given out free to children under 18.

Thursday is Miracle Treat Day, where all proceeds from every Blizzard purchased at Red Deer Dairy Queens are donated to the Stollery and Alberta Children's Hospitals to help children in need.

barr@reddeeradvocate.com

 
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