A Sooke woman was surprised by the generosity of strangers when her van broke down in Langford last week.
On Friday, Sept. 13, Chelsea Lawson was heading home on Highway 14 after a grocery shopping trip with her one-year-old and four-year-old daughters. The trio was exhausted, a bit cranky and ready to get home when the tire on her van suddenly went flat and Lawson was forced to pull onto the shoulder. Realizing her cell phone was dead, Lawson began to panic.
“I had this moment where I was fighting tears, thinking, ‘what am I going to do?'” she recalled. She had spent most of the family’s budget on groceries, and her husband was away working. Her four-year-old daughter piped up from the back, repeating something Lawson would tell her kids when they got upset.
“Mom, take a breath and count to three,” she said.
Lawson decided the only option was to go and look for help. Holding her children’s hands, they walked up to a nearby house. An older man answered the door and Lawson explained the situation, asking if they could call a cab or tow company. But the couple, she said, quickly “sprang into action.”
“They saw a lady with tears in her eyes and two babies on her hips and invited us in.”
With the kids set up with colouring and toys, the man headed to the tire shop. Then he loaded the family’s groceries and car seats into his own car and drove them home before driving Lawson back to pick up her newly-fixed van.
He told her not to worry about the bill until she could afford it.
Lawson later learned that the couple was Bob and Norma Saunders, a couple known in the community as the long-time owners of Saunders Subaru and philanthropy work through the Saunders Family Foundation, a non-profit that benefits youth and sports in Greater Victoria.
“Not only was I grateful, but I felt like they deserve recognition,” Lawson said. “They don’t know who I am, they just saw a mom that needed help.”
Lawson said that with so much negativity taking up space online, the encounter left her with a sense of hope.
“It honestly just makes you feel really hopefully for humanity,” she said. “I feel incredibly lucky to have even met them.”