Car­ing stranger

Act of kind­ness was no brainer for Summerside man

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - THE ISLAND - BY MILLICENT MCKAY JOUR­NAL PIONEER millicent.mckay@jour­nal­pi­

It was a reg­u­lar gro­cery shop­ping run for Ron­nie McLean and his wife, Krys­tal.

They were pass­ing through the pro­duce sec­tion of Sobeys in Summerside re­cently, when Ron­nie turned to his wife.

“You see that lady over there?” he said, point­ing in the di­rec­tion of the pro­duce sec­tion.

“I want to go ask if she needs help, but I don’t want to of­fend her.”

Krys­tal told him to go ask, en­cour­ag­ing him to try to help.

“As soon as he said that, I knew he needed to go and help her.”

Ron­nie ap­proached the curly, white-haired woman in the wheel­chair. A bas­ket was sit­ting on her lap, so far only con­tain­ing a salad. She was slowly shuf­fling her feet in an ef­fort to move along the rows.

“Would you mind if I helped you?” he asked the woman.

“I can man­age. But, I would like that very much,” said 90-year-old, Ruth Waite.

So Ron­nie grabbed the bas­ket and started to col­lect the things on Waite’s list. One of those items was cream.

He had to re­turn to his wife to ask, “Where’s the cream?”

But af­ter fetch­ing the cream, Ron­nie didn’t stop there. Af­ter Waite pur­chased her hand­ful of items, Ron­nie of­fered her a drive back to her apart­ment, in­stead of let­ting her take a taxi.

He ac­com­pa­nied her in­side the build­ing, pushed her wheel­chair to her apart­ment and put her gro­ceries away for her.

“If you need any help, any time, give me a call,” he said, giv­ing Waite his phone num­ber.

A week later, Ron­nie got a call from Waite.

“I thought she might need a lift some­where. I didn’t think it would be about shar­ing our story,” he said.

Waite added, “It de­serves to be heard. It’s peo­ple like him who make you be­lieve in hu­man­ity again.”

Ron­nie says it’s his his­tory of liv­ing on the streets as a young boy that has shaped his out­look on kind­ness.

“It’s made me a bet­ter per­son. It was tough, but I made it. That’s how I look at it. It al­lows me to ap­pre­ci­ate what I have now.”

Waite said she was floored by Ron­nie’s kind­ness.

“Peo­ple like him are scarce. I was a long way away from the cream when he came and asked to help,” she said with a chuckle.

Ron­nie said help­ing oth­ers and show­ing kind­ness should be a pri­or­ity.

“Some­times peo­ple can be so busy the thought of help­ing oth­ers doesn’t oc­cur that of­ten. But I al­ways try to reach out when I see some­one who needs help.”

He added, “It made me feel good to be able to help Ruth. Peo­ple need to find their hu­man­ity again.”

“It de­serves to be heard. It’s peo­ple like him who make you be­lieve in hu­man­ity again.” Ruth Waite


Ruth Waite, 90, left, and Ron­nie McLean are shown on Waite’s bal­cony. McLean helped Waite gather her gro­ceries, drove her home and then put her items away af­ter he reached out to her dur­ing a gro­cery-shop­ping ex­cur­sion.

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