The daughter of two Salmon Arm residents and a Salmon Arm store manager both describe themselves as teary-eyed when talking about their recent interactions.
Samantha Wallace contacted the Observer to express her great appreciation for the actions of Marilyn Williams, store manager at the Salmon Arm Co-op Gas Bar, on November 17th.
Wallace explained that she lives in Edmonton, her brother and family live on Vancouver Island, and her elderly parents live in Salmon Arm.
With all the flooding in British Columbia followed by photos circulating of empty grocery shelves, she knew she couldn’t let her parents, in their 80s, line up for groceries.
She contacted the co-op gas station in Salmon Arm because she knows it contains prepared foods that her mother has already purchased.
Wallace ended up talking to Williams, the manager of the cooperative store. Wallace said they had fun picking out the groceries. She told Williams to put the note on her credit card. Williams told her no, she didn’t have to pay.
“She said absolutely no, I pay up front,” Wallace said. She asked Williams if she was sure.
Williams told her she was paying up front because her parents lived in Ontario before they passed away, so she knows what it’s like to be at a distance.
Wallace asked if there would be someone at the store who could deliver the groceries. Williams didn’t hesitate. She said she would.
Wallace’s mother texted him later. Her mother told her Williams had tears in her eyes when she was there.
“I literally cried my eyes that someone would do that, ”Wallace said, his voice seizing with emotion.
“I think it’s an absolutely wonderful thing. I really can’t believe she did.
Wallace said she thinks that as bad as the flooding is, sometimes it brings out the best in people.
“With all of this, and everyone is doing what they can to help.”
Wallace said she had heard her mother talk about Williams’ behavior at the co-op before. Although her mother does not know her name, she said the woman who worked there would help transport things to the car.
When the Observer contacted Williams about her good deeds, she was reluctant to be in the paper. She doesn’t do such things for recognition. But, since Wallace wanted to make her kindness known, she agreed.
She was quick to point out that it was the “kitchen girls” who prepared the food, so she can’t take all the credit – it’s all a cooperative effort.
Williams said Wallace’s mother made him cry because both of his parents are gone now.
“It was one of those heartfelt moments, ‘I have to do this for you.’ Her daughter is so far removed from her aging parents, there was no hesitation in my mind, ”said Williams.
She said she did the same – order things for delivery – when her parents were alive.
“I wasn’t there physically and wanted them to know, ‘Hey, I love you, I care about you, I’m here,'” she said of her parents.
Wallace’s mother has a breathing problem, so Williams left her phone number with her and urged her to call if she needed help.
Williams said she told Wallace’s mom, “You’re a mom, you were there for your daughter, now she’s here for you.”
She said she would stop at the elderly couple’s house with a snow shovel to make sure they were okay.
“It’s so nice to be able to help with all of your heart,” said Williams. “Some people do it for gratitude, but for me, I’d rather be poor and give someone your last meal.”
She said she thought it was her training.
Williams was born when her mother was 44 and she was raised in poverty by her Italian parents.
At his father’s funeral, his mother said, in Italian: “You know, Mario, we were very poor but we lived a rich life.
“That’s what she said. I’ll never forget it, it was so true.
Williams said her parents would dance in the kitchen, her family were never without food, and her parents were never stressed about anything. They weren’t driving – his dad rode his bike to the stationery store where he worked. He had his garden in the back yard.
“They were so happy.”
Williams said these days “we are so lucky to have what we have, healthy children and grandchildren…”
She stressed that accumulating things does not bring happiness.
“We have to take a step back, give our people our time freedom…”
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