Victoria Skofteby is contagious and she’s unabashedly trying to infect others.
But what she’s spreading isn’t an illness, it’s a spirit – the spirit of giving.
This Christmas season, Skofteby’s leading by example by making a personal commitment to a month of daily random acts of giving. She’s posted her pledge and her efforts on social media and is hoping to spread the message and inspire others to take up the challenge.
“I want people to get back to the giving spirit of Christmas, not the getting,” says Skofteby, who says last Christmas she became frustrated by the consumerism and a lack of connection between people.
“It seemed to be all about how much, how big and how expensive. It all revolved around money.”
So Skofteby decided it was time to share, not just the wealth, but also share of her time, her skills and her compassionate nature.
“I enjoy making people’s day. You can’t put a price on that, so I’m trying to find ways I can do that – even if it is just a smile or a hug.”
Her first act was while shopping in Vernon for some kids’ snow pants. She reached for a pair at the same time as another man, and when she looked up, she noticed he looked a bit down on his luck.
She struck up a conversation and the man told her he rides his bike everywhere and the snow pants would help keep him warm.
“He said he’d love to have them, but he couldn’t afford them.”
The man said his goodbyes, and Skofteby sprung into action.
“He was still in the store, so I went to the other cash register and bought them, then I took them over to him and told him to have a Merry Christmas. He was so appreciative, it made me cry.”
Skofteby’s act of giving has now blossomed into others. She purchased a coffee for the person behind her in line at Starbucks. It turned out to be a 92-year-old lady, so instead of simply giving the beverage and moving on, Skofteby stayed and had coffee with her.
“She was lonely, so the company meant probably more to her than a free coffee, and in return I got to hear some pretty interesting stories. I guess that’s my point too. By giving this, I’m actually richer than before.”
But the real delight is seeing her message spreading.
Her first posting on Facebook was liked by 1,200 people and shared 150 times, with the vast majority of people saying they have also been inspired to take on their own acts of kindness.
She’s now got her own “elves” in the form of her friend Jen Blair, who is assisting with her efforts and Central Towing, which has agreed to be a drop-off point for donations towards Skofteby’s efforts, whether it be food for the SPCA or a sleeping bag for a homeless person.
Skofteby’s delighted that her message is resonating with others.
She points to Naomi McGeachy, a woman who contacted her from Enderby. “She’s started the same thing in her town, so I’d like to see it keep on going. Random acts of kindness can change the world.”