British Columbia·Point of View

The kindness of strangers: the small act that helped a family whose baby was airlifted to hospital

This week's story takes place 16 years ago when Sophia Mack was navigating the medical system with her husband and infant daughter, who was born with several health issues.

Do you have a story about the kindness of strangers? Get in touch with The Early Edition

Sophia Mack with her infant daughter, Maiya, who was born with several health issues, including hip dysplasia. She had to wear a cast for the first few months of her life. (Submitted by Sophia Mack)

CBC Radio One's The Early Edition is asking listeners to share their stories of kindness from strangers for a series that runs on Thursday mornings.

This week's story takes place 16 years ago when Sophia Mack was navigating the medical system with her husband and infant daughter, who was born with several health issues.


Dear stranger,

We met during a really stressful time in our lives.

My daughter Maiya was born premature, with hip dysplasia and a heart murmur.

From the moment she was born, she was in and out of hospitals and had to wear a cast for the first few months of her life.

When she was about nine months old, Maiya had to be airlifted from Bella Coola in northern B.C. to Children's Hospital in Vancouver. She was having trouble breathing and the doctors needed more tests done.

It was terrifying. I was young, just 19 at the time, and she was my first child. I didn't know what to expect.

We were at the hospital in Vancouver for a couple of weeks and money was really tight for us. I wasn't employed at the time and my husband worked at McDonald's for minimum wage.

My husband's father sent us a cheque to help out — about $150. To us, that was a lot of money at the time.

What we didn't realize was that we had to pay on our end to cash the cheque. The fee was only about $12 but we didn't have any money on us.

Sophia Mack's husband, Mike Friesen, holding their daughter. He was supporting the family with a minimum wage job while she was in hospital and money was tight. (Submitted by Sophia Mack)

We were trying to figure out what to do: whether we could pay the fee after cashing the cheque and looking for alternatives. That's when you stepped in and offered to pay the fee for us.

I just thought it was so kind of you. We never asked. You offered your help with no strings attached.

Being able to access that money meant a lot to us; we were able to feed ourselves and be more comfortable while we were staying with our daughter at the hospital, during a really hard time.

My daughter, who is 16 now, is doing much better.

She still has some limitations, like being unable to play sports and faces a hip replacement in the future, but is doing really well. Every year, we travel to Vancouver to see an orthopedic surgeon.

We often recall the story and talk about how the smallest things can leave a lasting impression.

Even if it's just a kind gesture like buying someone a coffee or smiling, those little things can be big for someone else.

Thank you for your kindness. It made a huge difference for us while we were in Vancouver.

Yours,

Sophia Mack

If you have a story about the kindness of strangers, email The Early Edition at earlyed@cbc.ca.

With files from The Early Edition

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