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If you hadn't heard about Ron Powers before this week, no one could really blame you. He lives in a modest house in Minto, works a couple of days a week as a security guard and used to receive social assistance.

Someone with the department of Social Development probably hadn't heard of him either, until they were told to give him a call, asking for $264 they say he was overpaid while on social assistance in 1997. Powers is caught up in a wide net the province has cast to recoup millions of dollars from people they say owe them money, regardless of the amount or, apparently, the year. As one listener wrote, "saving NB's economy, one little guy at a time."

Reaction to Ron Powers' story exploded on our website and Facebook page. There is plenty of sympathy from the public. And in true Maritime fashion, some have gone a step further and generously offered to give Powers the money, with one person insisting he take it. Powers say he'll pay the province as soon as he receives written proof that he was overpaid. If that letter never comes, Powers says he'll give the money to someone else who really needs it.

Talk about paying it forward.
Merry Christmas Ron Powers.


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