Comic store saves the day as Grinches steal toys meant for sick kids

When some customers stole gifts for child cancer patients from a St. John's restaurant last week, a local comic store owner knew he could help.

Restaurant now taking precautions by moving donated toys to the back

Donated toys under the tree at Jack Astor's restaurant in St. John's, gifts that have been replenished after last week's theft. (Submitted by Jack Astor's)

A classic case of some Grinches trying to steal Christmas cheer has drawn out the true spirit of Christmas.

People do crazy things at Christmas time.- Sherri McCaw

About 20 gifts – toys meant for children with cancer – were taken from under a Christmas tree at Jack Astor's Bar and Grill in St. John's last Tuesday.

The gifts were to be donated to Nevaeh's Lemonade Stand, a charity started by Nevaeh Denine for children with pediatric cancer in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Merry makers become gift takers

According to Jack Astor's manager Sherri McCaw, customers who had been at the restaurant took the gifts out of a sleigh, left the restaurant and were picked up by a car.

"One of the servers chased them out but they got in the car and kept the toys," she said. "The servers were pretty angry. Everyone was pretty upset about it. I mean who does that, right?

"It is what it is, people do crazy things at Christmas time."

Devastated staff planned to recoup their losses by offering a free appetizer to anyone who brought in new toys, and started moving donations to the back of the restaurant at the end of every shift.

A Christmas miracle

When the owner of Timemasters, a comic and collectibles store on Torbay Road, heard about what happened, he knew he could help.

Bob Hong invited restaurant staff to his store to pick out $500 worth of plush toys, action figures, and more. 

"I was heartbroken," said Bob Hong. "It's not that we don't already give donations — we frequently do — but I thought it important to push back against the Grinches who would otherwise steal Christmas."

Timemasters is a comic book and collectibles shop located on Torbay Road in St. John's. (Timemasters)

Hong hopes that his generosity will make the holidays a little better for some children who are fighting cancer.

It's a cause that's close to home.

"As a kid I was in hospital for months, and there were times when I was in there that I just thought that no-one really cared," he said.

"Kids are important and it's Christmas, so you got to do what you got to do."

With files from St. John's Morning Show