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A Valentine For Gilles

Kindness is still alive and well...

Gilles, an 85 year old friend with a history of heart troubles, was in the emergency ward last fall. Nothing new for Gilles. He’s had multiple heart attacks but still keeps on ticking like the soldier he is. In typical Gilles fashion, he was chatting up the nurses as they attended to him.

One of the nurses was new to the community so he asked if she had been to see any of the spectacular scenery in the area. Tumbler Ridge is famous for its waterfalls and other scenic spots, one of only a few Global Unesco Geoparks in North America. She said that she hadn’t had time yet, so, again, in typical Gilles fashion, he offered to take her sometime.

I think he was surprised when she took him up on his offer, and so they met at the appointed time and place. She brought along two friends, also new to town, and apparently, they had a fantastic time. Eighty-five year old Gilles and his three young female companions toured some of the closer scenic spots accessible by car and a good time was had by all.

A few days later, the ‘girls’ brought Gilles an envelope. In it was a laminated selfie of the four of them taken on their adventure. He was touched. “But there’s more,” one nurse said. Surprised, Gilles found a lovely card, thanking him for his generosity and time. Again, he was touched. “There’s still more…” she insisted.

Puzzled, Gilles looked in the envelope again. To his surprise was a fully paid airplane ticket worth more than $750!

But the most touching part of this story is yet to come. Recently, Gilles was forced to place his wife of forty years in a care home on Vancouver Island. Despite his best efforts, her progressing dementia was too much for him to handle by himself. Nursing homes with good care are hard to get into, and further more they couldn’t find anything close to home. Gilles made the decision to put his dear wife in a home 2000 kilometres away so that she would be nearer to her children. This meant that he only saw her infrequently when he made the twenty hour trip by car every couple of months. Until he could sell their home in Tumbler Ridge, there was no other option.

Now, in his hand, he held a plane ticket so that he could go see her. He decided to use it on her birthday, which happened to be one day before Valentine’s day.

Gilles has had a rough life. Almost killed in the navy, he‘s also seen a lot of heartbreak closer to home. One son committed suicide due to drug use. Another was hit by a car when he was only six years old and died. But according to Gilles, “We don’t have to live there, even if we never forget.” Gilles has a strong faith which has helped him through the years. Now his generosity and kind heart are paying dividends.

Thank you to Gilles for his fine example. Thank you to the three nurses who were so thoughtful and kind. It seems that goodness is still alive and well in this world.


  1. Kathleen Friesen says:

    What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing this, Tracy. Gilles and his story warmed my heart.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      Thanks Kathleen. Talk to you soon!

  2. elSharon Espeseth says:

    Thanks for writing and sharing this, Tracy. You have unearthed a story that has many dimensions of love and good will. Hope you had a Wonderful Valentine’s Day.

    1. tracykrauss says:

      Thanks Sharon. It was nice to be home for Valentine’s Day, too!

  3. Sandi says:

    What a beautiful story Tracy! Thanks for writing it, and thanks for sharing it.

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