Barb MacKay’s Story: Ordinary People Making a Positive Difference

This is one of many stories from a wide variety of sources and a multitude of forms contributed by people upon request for my 70th birthday.   They will be posted without editing, with the attribution that was with them.  I will be posting these regularly until they run out next year sometime: if you have others to add, please send them to me.

Two of us set out on a camping trip on Vancouver Island- it was September 2017 and the campground was beautiful, deserted and near the Juan de Fuca trail. We were excited as we had not camped for a few years. We had hauled out all our gear, made sure it all worked, and packed the car exquisitely to accommodate several camping trips on the island, interspersed with stops at friends and Airbnb’s.

At this first camp site, we set up our tent, and in filling our water bucket, noticed the sign “unpotable water- boil two minutes”. No problem- we had our stove! However, minutes later, it was apparent that we did NOT have the stove. We had left it on the floor of the garage. We had the propane canister but no way to use it.

The only commercial business within 25 km was a tiny cafe. So we hopped back in car, hoping to 1) beg for a bit of free water 2) buy something to make up for begging and 3) get a cup of coffee in our thermos to have lukewarm the next morning. Overhearing our story to the cafe owner, a local man, Wayne, we learned later, approached us and said I have a stove I can give you. Astonished we said, “could we pay you for it?”. He said “no, it’s really old, and I don’t use it anymore”. He asked where we were camping and when we returned to our site two hours later after a hike, a workable stove was sitting on the picnic table with a note from Wayne. He had gone looking for the plastic base to hold the propane canister. Sure enough, he showed up 5 minutes later and we offered him a beer. We learned about his community and how much he loved it.

When we went back to the cafe the next day to buy him a coffee, he was not there. The cafe person laughed when she heard our story. She said she was not surprised. “we call Wayne the mayor of Jordan River (population~35). He is always helping people out.”

We had the good fortune of being recipients of “Mayor Wayne’s” simple act of kindness generosity and kindness. He reminded us that life is always better when you can give and receive generously each and every day. What he did was normal for him, but an act of extraordinary kindness for us which we will never forget. The stove by the way, works much better than any camp stove we have ever owned.

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