PEI

P.E.I. park officer uses her tips to surprise family with ice cream

Nora McCarthy Joyce and her family had their summer made by the kindness of a stranger.

'I could tell right away that she was someone who was very kind with children'

Kings Castle Provincial Park's Darlene Cuddy saw a family didn't bring cash and gave her tips to buy them ice cream. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

Nora McCarthy Joyce and her family had their summer made by the kindness of a stranger.

Like many, McCarthy Joyce and her family aren't carrying around cash much during COVID and when they were at Kings Castle Provincial Park her kids wanted some ice cream to beat the heat.

Except the park only takes cash. "So I said to them 'Next time we come I promise I'll bring some money so that you can get ice cream,'" McCarthy Joyce said.

"And you could visibly see the disappointment on their face, of course."

Moments later it was park officer Darlene Cuddy to the rescue.

'We were just overcome by her kindness'

Cuddy saw the family, ran over to them and said if the kids want ice cream they'll absolutely have it — and she'll use her tips to pay for it.

"I have a big soft spot for kids, and adults of course, but I want every child that comes into this park to receive something," she said.

"Whether it's a smile, or whether it's going to the beach to pick rocks, or an ice cream."

Nora McCarthy Joyce posted the story on Facebook and got dozens of comments praising Cuddy, right. Many called her a wonderful person. (Nora McCarthy Joyce/Facebook)

Cuddy said she "made lots of tips" that day and wanted to make sure the family left happy.

McCarthy Joyce said the kids were thrilled that they were leaving with cones.

"Of course we were just overcome by her kindness.… They ran over with her and she went through the list of flavours with them. I could tell right away that she was someone who was very kind with children, and if you look at the amount of comments on the story that I shared it's really quite spectacular to see how much she is loved."

Making someone's day is part of the job

McCarthy Joyce posted the story on Facebook and got dozens of comments praising Cuddy. Many calling her any and all variations of a "wonderful person."

But Cuddy remains humble, despite all the kind words.

'And if you can make that day a lot better than what it was, than I've done well,' Darlene Cuddy says. (Danny Arsenault/CBC)

To her, she said, as a park officer and someone who cares about making other people's days, it's just the right thing to do on any occasion.

"I try to do at least two or three things every day that might make someone else's life better, because you really don't know what they're coming in the park with," she said.

"And if you can make that day a lot better than what it was, then I've done well."

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