What began as a desire to repay an act of kindness morphed into something much more for West Shore RCMP Const. Alex Berube.
After a homeless man in Langford returned $2,400 he found earlier this month, Berube was on a mission to try and find the man to let him know that his act had been acknowledged with national media attention, and a fund had been set up by Mike Kelly on the social media site Victoria Buzz to reward him with an equivalent amount.
“We all take our jobs personally to a certain extent,” said Berube, who spent a fair amount of his free time to trying to find the Good Samaritan. “I’m not the first guy to spend some time off-duty trying to do the right thing. I felt it was important to let him know that people had really stepped up to help him out.”
When Berube, the detachment’s media relations officer, found the man on Millstream Road last week, he was careful to convey that he wasn’t in any trouble. Berube explained that about $5,000 had been collected, with half of that earmarked for the man and the rest for Our Place, which offers support for homeless people in Victoria.
“I was totally surprised when he turned it down and said to give it all to Our Place,” Berube said. “I suggested he think about it overnight and set up a time to talk about it at the detachment the next day.”
The man, who is in his 60s and wishes to remain anonymous, is originally from Langford and has been living on the streets for a long time.
Berube even offered the man his watch to ensure he had no problems with the timing of the appointment, but he politely declined. He came in the next day and talked with Berube for 30 minutes, but remained steadfast in his decision that all of the money should go to Our Place.
At the end of the conversation, he asked if there was something Berube may be able to help him with – finding a job.
Berube contacted Kelly immediately to see if he could spread the word through Victoria Buzz.
“I really hope he can get a job,” Berube said. “It’s a gratifying part of our work when we can help do something for someone that has a positive impact on their life. He’s a great example of a very humble person who’s trying to pay it forward, despite the challenges he faces.”
Meanwhile, the rightful owner of the money has come forward and was reunited with his cash after being able to provide the correct information for investigators.