Christmas miracles do happen in Winnipeg and this one comes in the form of black, blue and pink leggings, says a family from Dryden, Ont.
Riah Compardo and her mom Heidi were in Winnipeg to shop for the holidays a few weeks ago. Heidi said they wanted to come to Winnipeg for the shopping, especially at ivivva athletica, which sells athletic gear for young girls such as sweaters, headbands and leggings.
Riah saved up money since March for leggings that are black with a blue and pink waistband. She even sewed a blanket for a woman up north who was having a baby. Her papa gave her money for the blanket and Riah planned to use it to buy her prized leggings.
The two went straight to the store, bought the leggings and stopped to buy some salt and vinegar popcorn before returning to their hotel room.
But when Riah went to pick up the bag after leaving it on the ground to pay for her snack, it was gone.
"She turned to me and was white as a ghost," said Heidi.
After trying security and the store, the two decided the leggings and headband Riah bought were gone for good.
"My heart just ... I became sad right away," Riah said. "We went back to the hotel and I was just crying. I didn't want to do anything. I just wanted to stay in my room."
When the family went back to the store the next day to replace them, the staff there gave them an unexpected surprise.
"Riah went to make the purchase and the cashier informed us that they wanted to do something for our family," Heidi said. "They wanted to gift Riah's purchase for her."
Anonymous donor leaves gift card
What's more is a woman in the mall overheard Heidi explain the story to the cashier. She bought Riah a gift card and left it anonymously at the cash register.
Riah was able to get her original leggings and headband. She also bought a new sweater, thanks to the kindness of strangers.
"There wasn't a dry eye in the store," Heidi said. "We left the store and [Riah] said 'Mom, these aren't tears of sorrow anymore. These are tears of joy.'"
Casey Nolin is the store manager at ivivva athletica in Polo Park. She said she and the other girls on shift that day saw how sad Riah was and wanted to do something meaningful.
"You know, it's the holidays and we just wanted to do something nice for this girl," she said.
The family has since returned to Dryden and celebrated the holidays in style.
"[The girls there] sure turned our weekend around," Heidi said. "We had a bad time on Tuesday night, and when we left the city on Thursday to go home, our hearts were filled with love."