A Money Coach in Canada

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I’ve had a couple tough days.  I’m off work, ill.  Headache, achey bones, and a fatigue that’s taken me down for the count.  I hate being sick!  Additionally I’m missing a lot about Vancouver these days.  Don’t get me wrong – I really enjoy Yellowknife – but there are experiences and places and shops and wifi and people who are only to be found in Vancouver.  So in addition to bone and head aches, there’s some ache-of-the-spirit in the mix.

This evening I did what all sick people do to console themselves.  I made the treck to the video store.  Alas, I came out empty.  No The Wire.  No BSG til late July apparently.  I forgot to ask about Firefly (anyone seen the series?  I saw one episode – are they all as awesome?)


Plan B:  buy some chocolate. One idiosyncrasy of life up here is that the majority of shops shut down at 6pm but not, thank goodness, Shoppers.  I went the distance, folks, I selected a beautiful Lindt milk chocolate bar, went to the til — and my debit card was declined.  And declined.  And declined again.  It’s payday and I work for the Gov’t so I’m guessing Central One’s servers went down, but in any case, so much for my chocolate.  Life was beginning to spiral downward.

Until a lovely thing happened.

The young woman at the til, seeing my crestfallen face, told me to hang on one sec.  She punched a few buttons on the til — handed me the chocolate bar, smiled, and said, it’s on me.  Not on the house.  It’s on me.

I stood dumbfounded.  Eventually I stammered out my thanks, and happily accepted the chocolate bar she had just bought me.

It cost her $1.50.   Not much in the grand scheme of things, but its impact was multiple time a buck-fifty.  It was a lovely, unexpected, random act of kindness.

I don’t know if I’ll make a point of paying her back or if I’ll pay it forward or quite what I’ll do.

I thought I’d start by simply sharing.

Readers, have you experienced a Random Act of Kindness?  Care to share?

ps: I got home, and reached a vancouver friend who, of all things, is also housebound.  He’d rented One Week, and I was able to find it on iTunes for rent, so we’re sharing a movie, virtually.  Life is lookin’ better.

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. I’m sorry you’ve been feeling lousy but I’m glad this random act of kindness helped brighten up your day. What about paying the woman back by doing something nice for her and then paying it forward for someone else.

    Your story reminds me of my late grandfather. He used to own a store (surprised?). One day just as he was closing to go home for dinner, young newlyweds came into his shop. As it turned out, they wanted to pawn their wedding rings to pay for their trip home (they’d been robbed while on their honeymoon.) Instead he loaned them some money as a “wedding gift”. He never met them before that night and he didn’t know if he’d ever hear from them again (he did). He wasn’t a wealthy man. Just a man who had a generous heart and a trusting soul. I miss him.
    .-= Eden Spodek´s last blog ..Fit-in 15 – we’re all winners! =-.


    Jun 26, 2009
  2. @Eden – oh! I have tears in my eyes reading the story about your grandfather. Thanks for posting.


    Jun 26, 2009
  3. Anthony

    Oh Nancy,
    Firefly is even better than the one episode you saw. I suggest you put them on your Ziplist or get the boxset yourself during one of the sales that typically happens through the year. Individually they’re good. When you watch them in the sequence intended, they’re GREAT. 🙂



    Jun 27, 2009
  4. That’s lovely, good to hear there are people out there like that who are willing to give you a break sometimes!

    I’ve done a similar thing for a woman ahead of me in line who forgot her purse and had 18$ in gas pumped into her car with no way to pay for it. I had no idea who she was, nor ever saw her again but if that were me I’d really hope someone would be nice enough to do the same.


    Jun 28, 2009
  5. I’m waiting to get the complete series of BSG and Sarah Connor Chrionicles.

    NetChick sent me here.
    .-= Jean-Luc Picard´s last blog ..TWQ: Useless Catalogue Gift Ideas =-.


    Jun 28, 2009
  6. @Anthony Thanks for the firefly reco and I’ll do exactly as you suggested – book them via zip, in sequential order.
    @Karl That *has* to have some kind of pay-it-forward impact. Thanks for doing that! Who knows … maybe it wound its way around the world to the woman who helped me out about 🙂
    @Jean-Luc Haven’t heard of the SC Chronicles but will check it out – tx for popping by!


    Jun 28, 2009
  7. Lior

    I had the same thing happen to me at work. She’s a manager working at the same store. Being a chocolate connoisseur myself, I bought a bar of chocolate before I went home from work and went to the cash to pay. She was just ahead of me buying a few things and was browsing through a cooking magazine. So we just randomly started talking about cooking, and when the cashier finished scanning her items, she took my chocolate bar which about to be scanned and told the cashier to put it on her tab. And I was like “oh no thanks, really, that’s so kind” and she was like “no, forget it” and insisted on paying for it. I was blushing like hell.


    nancyzimmerman Reply:

    @Lior That’s a charming story! And I bet built up a measure of morale for working at the store. Thanks for the story!


    Jun 29, 2009
  8. MarliO

    Love the stories. Funny how hard it is sometimes to accept an act of kindness. I’ve had to learn that accepting help is sometimes an act of kindness in itself.

    YES YES YES to the recommendations on Firefly. We own the box set and it is getting quite shabby-looking due to all of the loans we’ve made to friends. So far everyone to whom we’ve loaned the set has come back raving about the series. A big PTHBBBBBBBBBTTTTTTT to Fox for promoting the show so very poorly and then cancelling mid-season. My husband and I were part of the ‘Browncoats’ movement pushing for reinstatement of the series and/or a feature length film. Unfortunately the film, Serenity, is of much lower quality than the series, but did offer a few thrilling heroics.

    Thanks for the interesting post.


    Jul 02, 2009
  9. I second the recommendation to see the rest of Firefly (and the follow up movie, and the follow up comics if you really get into it). The Wire is great too.

    My vote would be to pay back the woman who was nice to you directly. Taking her in flowers or a gift card for a restaurant would probably be well received…

    When I was a grubby backpacker going across Europe years ago I saw that people can be better and worse than you ever imagined. I still fondly remember the numerous kindnesses I experienced (like a guy who picked me up hitchhiking in Italy then stopped and offered to get me an espresso).
    .-= Mr. Cheap´s last blog ..Book Review: Writing Nonfiction: Turning Thoughts into Books =-.


    Jul 02, 2009
  10. @MarliO – You’re in good company – a number of people recommended firefly to me on twitter, too – so I’ve added it to my zip.ca list! Great to have stuff lines up for the long, dark winters up here 🙂
    @Mr. Cheap – I really like the idea of getting her a gift card. Not that many restaurants up here, but I be a move pass would go over well. Thanks for the suggestion!


    Jul 02, 2009


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