PENTICTON - A Penticton mother and son are experiencing the true spirit of the Christmas season after suffering a devastating robbery earlier this week.
Jackie Hooper and her son, Brandon Drury left their Atkinson Street home late Monday morning to shop for Christmas gifts. It promised to be great holiday; Brandon, who suffers from VACTERL association, had undergone a 15.5 hour surgery at Childrens Hospital in Vancouver. It wasn’t expected he would make it home for Christmas, but he surprised everyone by progressing so well he was released Dec. 2.
Brandon became tired before they finished their shopping on Monday, however, so they returned home.
“I unlocked the front door, which is the door I went out, but it wouldn’t open,” said Hooper. “I unlocked the deadbolt, thinking that I had not locked it before I left. Then I realized the security chain was in place.”
She left Brandon in the care of her neighbour and good friend, Jessica Adam, while she carefully checked the residence. The backyard gate was open, as was the back door. Then she noticed the laundry room window had been accessed.
Police were called, and an inventory taken. All the Christmas presents, including the family’s laptops and television were gone. A Society St. Vincent De Paul Christmas hamper basket as well as the Christmas turkey had also been taken.
“They didn’t even bother to shut the freezer door,” said Hooper.
A good friend of the family notified a local media source, who put the family’s plight on social media. The response was immediate, carrying on through Christmas Eve, two days later.
We’ve had people coming to our door for the last two days,” said Hooper, who is overwhelmed by the generosity exhibited by complete strangers. The family’s most important Christmas gifts were replaced, in addition to receiving many food donations - so many in fact, that Hooper has been able to “pay it forward” by offering extra food she has received to others.
“It’s been amazing,” she said late Wednesday afternoon, as people continued to drop off donations.
Outside her residence Wednesday afternoon, neighbours and friends were enjoying the unseasonably mild weather to discuss the week’s events.
Family friend Steve Brown was delighted at the outpouring of human generosity and Christmas spirit shown since the burglary, saying it had rekindled his faith in humanity.
“These are good people. They didn’t deserve what happened to them. They do deserve what’s happening to them now,” he said.
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