Toronto woman blown away by kindness from community after losing phone wallet
Hyejin has been a resident of the Liberty Village neighbourhood in Toronto for the past nine years but has a new fondness for her neighbours after a stressful hour of looking for a missing phone wallet.
Having left her home near Strachan Avenue and Liberty Street last Thursday evening for a walk, Hyejin decided to run back when she got stuck in a downpour with a broken umbrella.
She was nearly home when she realized that her right pocket where she usually kept her phone wallet felt especially light.
Her phone, debit and credit cards, driver's license and health card were all gone.
"I realized it pretty quickly and started to retrace my steps but could not find it and went into a full-on panic mode," Hyejin wrote in a post to her neighbourhood Facebook group.
"That's when this guy who was standing outside in one of these new condo buildings saw me, asked me what was wrong and he offered to help me find it saying, 'Folks around here are quite honest. I wouldn't worry too much. Let me help you,' and came out to search with me in the rain and went into his building to ask security in case someone had turned it in."
This wouldn't be the only kind stranger she'd encounter that night.
Continuing her search down the street, it was then that Hyejin saw a homeless man smoking a cigarette with nothing to protect him from the weather but a black trash bag.
He let her know that he saw someone pick up her phone wallet and that the finder was probably on his way to return it to her at that moment.
"That's when he actually said, 'I'm so sorry that you're going through this, you must be so stressed out,'" Hyejin told blogTO. "I almost choked up when he said it because he was out there sheltering himself from the rain yet saying these things. How amazing."
Hyejin was reunited with her lost belongings after having her concierge call her phone number back at her building. It was found and returned to her by a couple in a neighbouring apartment.
After dunking her water-damaged phone in a bag of rice, Hyejin headed back to the corner where she encountered the man to give him a small care package.
"I grabbed a few things and ran back but the rain was done at that point and I think he had moved on to a different spot so I couldn't find him," she says. "I'll remember his face if I ever see him around and I'll definitely thank him."
The opera pianist who's been laid off from live performances since last March took to the Liberty Village community Facebook group in hopes of finding the strangers who so willingly helped her.
"If you are reading this post, thank you all so much," she wrote. "As a classical musician, my year during the pandemic was tough, to say the least, but all of your kindness today gave me so much hope and filled my heart with so much warmth."
Hyejin, who came from Baltimore a decade ago, tells blogTO that though she initally had her doubts, she's come to love her community.
"On the third day that I lived here, I was punched by a homeless man about a block away from Liberty and Strachan where I dropped my phone," she tells blogTO.
"Everybody kind of put their headphones on and pretended that it wasn't happening so that was one of my first impressions of Liberty Village, Toronto and Canada.
Hyejin says she's seen a real change since she arrived.
"That was a really nice full-circle thinking back to that experience to this one," she tells blogTO. "It feels like we've really grown as a community – I definitely felt the Canadian kindness."
Join the conversation Load comments