Surrey’s Su Zhen Luo, 85, depended on her wheelchair/walker combo before it was stolen from outside her front door.
Now, she’s got two of them. Seems whoever took her treasured ride grew a conscience and returned it, kind of.
The elderly Whalley woman’s $254.99 stroller was stolen from outside the front door of her daughter’s townhouse on Dec. 27, after a thief crept in through the garden gate. Luo suffers from a spinal injury from a fall and needed the stroller to get around, so her daughter Min Li had to buy her a new one right away.
Luo’s lamentable story appeared on the front page of the Now-Leader’s Jan. 3 issue under the headline “Senior’s stroller theft ‘disgusting.’” That story, Luo’s son-in-law Daniel Blanchette said, “seemed to have made an impact on whoever came in the night to take away mother’s stroller/wheelchair.”
He said the president of their strata council subsequently found the stroller abandoned behind their complex clubhouse on Saturday morning “and brought it back to our door.”
“Whoever took that chair brought it back.”
Still, the theft stung.
“Mom was happy for its return despite our getting a new one for her,” Blanchette said of Luo, who speaks Cantonese. “She was so happy.
“So now we will have one for her to use at home to help her walk in front of our unit, and one in the car for whenever Min takes her to the swimming pool which relaxes her spine.”
The stroller had been leaning against the wall beside the front door of the Chatham Lane townhouse where the family lives, in the 13400-block of 92nd Avenue in Whalley. Min Li, Luo’s daughter, said her mother was panicked when she discovered it had been stolen.
Initially, the family did not bother to call police about the theft, thinking it wouldn’t have done them any good. But this has been a learning experience.
Before the stroller was returned, Blanchette told the Now-Leader, “Constable Cassidy Zayshley came to see us after she read your article online. She made a police report and gave us the file number and ways to contact her if need be. She mentioned the RCMP has an officer going to pawnshops looking at items to see if any would match descriptions of items that were stolen from our citizens.
Blanchette said a second Mountie, whose name he didn’t get, also called the family to tell them a “generous donor” in the community offered to give Luo one of the wheelchairs he had on hand.
“As we had already bought a replacement, we thanked her for his offer and to relay our thanks to that person.”
Constable Richard Wright said that despite the stolen stroller’s return – “anonymously, lo and behold” – police will nevertheless still “be trying to work out exactly what happened to the property that was stolen and that investigation is still ongoing.”
For Blanchette, his wife and mother-in-law, all’s well that ended well.
“We have some rotten individuals living amongst us, and thankfully, you, these RCMP officers, as well as the unnamed donor prove we still have amazing, caring, helpful townspeople in this City of Surrey,” he said.
He’s been reminded, he added, “of something I had forgotten or lost: That if we look after one another, help those who are in need, work together, we can make our city a better place to live.”