For the third year in a row, we invited 100 individuals to create a wave of local good through our $10,000 Local Give campaign. Once again, we were inspired by the creativity they displayed through their unique acts of kindness. Over the coming weeks, we will share some of these inspiring stories that will warm your heart and put a smile on your face.
A Family’s Touching Tribute
As a parent, one of the most unimaginable losses is that of a child. Those who experience this type of loss are forever changed. For the O’Flaherty family, this certainly has been the case with the loss of their son and brother, Ben.
In January 2015, Ben died of cancer at the age of 21, leaving a hole in the heart of his family and a drive to keep his memory alive. So, when John O’Flaherty first heard about the $10,000 Local Give, he knew exactly what he would do with $100. Afterall, it’s exactly what his son Ben would have done if given the opportunity.
“One of Ben’s favourite things was to pay it forward,” explained John. “One day on his way home from work, he saw a person searching through a garbage bin for something to eat. He stopped the car and gave him half of the submarine sandwich he had just bought himself for dinner. From that payday on, he would budget enough money to buy four six-inch subs and hand them out to those in need of a meal. He never expected anything from this other than the satisfaction of helping someone out.”
Armed with their $100, John, his wife Sharon, and daughter Olivia, purchased 11 subs from a Kelowna-based eatery and began to share the kindness that Ben had demonstrated years before. With each sandwich they gave out, they were asked why they were doing this. Each time, the family happily shared Ben’s story and generous spirit.
“We met so many different people, and they all shared their unique stories with us,” said John. “Many had fallen upon hard times, often stemming from physical or mental challenges, and all were very appreciative of our gesture.”
In the end, John and his family reached out to 12 people with 11 subs and one additional meal — they were happy to treat a man who didn’t like subs to his very first Harvey’s hamburger! And that’s not all; the O’Flaherty family plan to make this act of kindness an annual tradition.
“When Ben was in a hospice house, he told us he was sad that he was going to miss everything,” continued John. “His biggest fear was being forgotten. We saw Local Give as an opportunity to keep his good will moving forward in the world. We hope to inspire others to follow Ben’s lead and never underestimate the power of a simple act of kindness.”
We couldn’t agree more! From all of us at Interior Savings, we thank the O’Flaherty family for sharing their heartfelt story, and for helping to create a wave of local good. Ben would be proud.