Fergus Brown of Marystown got a surprise 54th birthday gift from a business owner he chats with over coffee — a new mobility scooter.
Brown, who was born with spina bifida, headed to his favourite coffee shop as usual on the morning of his birthday. When he arrived, the man, who wants to remain anonymous, was waiting for him.
"He gave me a cupcake with a candle in it," said Brown. "Then he gave me the key. It didn't click in what it was, not until they shoved her around the counter. That's when I nearly fell off the seat over there."
Brown's benefactor said he admired Brown's determination and his work ethic. He also said he knew that Brown was struggling to raise money for a new scooter.
Brown a Marystown fixture
Brown is well-known in Marystown for his broad smile and his work selling raffle tickets for charities at the town's two shopping malls.
However, Brown's sister, Ellen Barron, said his early years were challenging and uncertain.
"He had 27 or 30 surgeries and he's after mastering them all," said Barron. "He wasn't supposed to live this long. He was supposed to be gone when he was 15."
"But here he is, 54, today."
Brown "blown away"
Brown said he was "blown away" by the kindness of his acquaintance, who he said would chat with every morning over coffee.
"You just wouldn't be able to understand the way it feels right now," said Brown. "It's just so unbelievable that somebody would go purchase a scooter for somebody that's physically challenged."
"I didn't think that would ever happen."
Meanwhile, more friends of Brown — his fellow members of the local branch of the Knights of Columbus — said they have another birthday present for him. They have been making plans to build Brown a shed for his scooter.