Katherine Booth was surprised to learn that a stranger she briefly met in the checkout line at Black Bond Books last month had ordered her, and paid for, a copy of a book he had recommended to her. (Contributed photo)

Katherine Booth was surprised to learn that a stranger she briefly met in the checkout line at Black Bond Books last month had ordered her, and paid for, a copy of a book he had recommended to her. (Contributed photo)

South Surrey woman’s ‘faith in the kindness of strangers’ restored after anonymous gift

Gesture that resulted from casual conversation in a checkout line earns vow to pay it forward

A South Surrey grandmother who was recently in line at a local book store has found herself on the receiving end of a random act of kindness.

A few weeks ago, Katherine Booth was waiting in the checkout line – properly masked and socially-distanced, she noted – at Black Bond Books in Semiahmoo Shopping Centre, when she noticed a “chatty” gentleman ahead of her in line, waiting to buy a number of books while “happily discussing the titles with whoever was willing.”

The conversation, which also included a second man behind Booth in line, turned eventually to the book The Boys in the Boat, the non-fiction story of nine American rowers who narrowly won a gold medal at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Booth mentioned that some in her book club had enjoyed the book, and the customer behind her mentioned that he had read it in college. The chatty customer – whose name, Booth later learned, was Richard – responded by saying, “If you liked that, you’ll like this one” and recommended a different book with a similar name: The Boys in the Cave, written by Matt Gutman about the incredible rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach who were trapped in a flooded Thailand cave for nearly three weeks in 2018.

As is often the case with casual conversations between strangers, the discussion ended and the customers went their separate ways.

Then, a week or so later, Booth received a call from the book store telling her that the book she had ordered was in.

She informed the caller that she had not ordered anything, only to hear that Richard had ordered, and paid for, The Boys in the Cave. Richard, Booth was told, is a frequent customer at the store, and often buys book for strangers he meets there.

Booth said her husband has taken a particular interest in her new book, and that Richard’s gesture “has restored my faith in the kindness of strangers.”

It also spurred her to pay the good deed forward herself. Booth said she and her fellow book-club members normally do a secret Santa gift exchange every year, but since they cannot meet in person this year – meetings have been held over Zoom lately – members of the club decided to take the money they would normally spend on gifts and donate it to the local food bank instead.



editorial@peacearchnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Books

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Court of Appeal in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Man convicted of assault, unlawfully confining woman pregnant with his child loses court appeal

Victim tells court he drove her to Guildford parking lot after he’d ‘grabbed’ her neck and she fainted

Peter and Stephanie Chung. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey philanthropists presenting $285K in scholarships on Saturday

Drs. Peter and Stephanie Chung over the past nine years have awarded more than 500 students, in memory of their son Joseph

Brandon Nathan Teixeira, charged in connection with a fatal 2017 shooting in South Surrey, is to return to court Feb. 2, 2021. (Canadian Press/File photo)
Pre-trial conference set for accused in 2017 South Surrey killing

Brandon Nathan Teixeira set to return to Vancouver court Feb. 2

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions as the pandemic reaches the one-year mark. (B.C. government)
Another 564 COVID-19 cases, mass vaccine plan coming Friday

15 more deaths, community cluster declared in Williams Lake

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Darlene Curylo scratched a $3M ticket, BCLC’s largest ever scratch and win prize. (BCLC)
Kelowna woman in shock after winning BCLC’s largest-ever instant-ticket prize

Darlene Curylo couldn’t believe her eyes when she saw the amount of money she’d won from a scratch ticket

While each person has different reasons for becoming homeless, a UBCO study shows they learn through their interactions with different services to perform ‘as homeless’ based on the expectations of service providers. (Contributed)
Kelowna homeless forced to ‘perform’ for resources, says UBCO study

One participant in the study said ‘It is about looking homeless, but not too homeless’

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette takes the royal salute from the Guard of Honour as she makes her way deliver the the throne speech, Wednesday, September 23, 2020 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Chartrand
Gov. Gen. Julie Payette resigns, apologizes for ‘tensions’ at Rideau Hall

Payette, who is the Queen’s representative in Canada, has been the governor general since 2017

Grounded WestJet Boeing 737 Max aircraft are shown at the airline’s facilities in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, May 7, 2019. WestJet will operate the first commercial Boeing 737 Max flight in Canada today since the aircraft was grounded in 2019 following two deadly crashes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Passengers unfazed as WestJet returns Boeing 737 Max to service on Vancouver flight

After a lengthy review process, Transport Canada cleared the plane to return to Canadian airspace

Most Read