A penniless cancer patient received a beautiful surprise from his fellow Ottawa residents after he was forced to resort to panhandling.
52-year-old Scott Murray has been battling non-Hodgkins lymphoma for the past 10 years, the Ottawa Citizen reports. Because of his condition, he is unable to work, which makes money tight.
Although he does receive federal disability pension, the whole of it goes towards his $1,000-a-month rent for his apartment. This leaves him $500 for all of his expenses, including his $300 monthly copayment for his medication.
“It’s left me a little short on my food money,” Murray told the Citizen.
Murray woke up to an empty refrigerator one day, with no means to restock. He explained that he would have gone to the local food bank, but it is only open on Wednesdays.
“I’ve got a little cat here with me and he was just a-whining because I hadn’t fed him for a while,” Murray said. “And I said to myself, pride goes before the fall. You know I decided to try something. First time in my life.”
So Murray grabbed his walker and went to a local mall and held up a sign that read:
“Cancer patient, just need some food and milk, please and thank you.”
Murray was shocked at the response that he received. Strangers gave Murray enough money to feed him and his cat, Smokey, and then some. But strangers didn’t simply drop money and walk away. Many would stop to talk with him, sharing a few moments of kindness before making their donations.
“I can tell you every person that gave me a nickel or a $20 bill,” he told the Citizen two days ago. “I can tell what they looked like and what they said. It wasn’t just that they mindlessly dropped money in a cup then walked away.”
The unbelievable aid that Murray received from the people of Ottawa during his time of need prompted Murray to write “an open letter to the people of Ottawa,” thanking them for the consideration that they showed him.
The letter is as follows:
“This is an open letter to the people of Ottawa. Recently I have fallen on hard times and ran out of food, so when I checked with my local food bank to find they are only open on Weds. from 1-3. Well this was Thursday, so for the first time in my life I swallowed my pride and made up a sign that stated “Cancer patient just need some food & milk, please and thank you.
“Then I sat on my walker in the front of the Elmvale Mall entrance with a Tim Hortons cup. The outpouring from people was too much to bear. One young lady gave me $20 and then another lady with a disabled daughter got out and gave me another $20. That was it. I cried for almost an hour. For complete strangers to show concern for a person they didn’t even know was too much.
“I had all my medical records with me in case someone thought I might be pulling a fast one. Not one person doubted me. So if anyone says the people of Ottawa are cold or uncaring, I will be the first to correct them. Once again, thank you to anyone who gave me a dime or a twenty dollar bill. You have hearts as big as our snowbanks in the city.
“Yours humbly, Scott Murray.”
Do you think your hometown would be as supportive as this? Would you be? Let us know!