For all intents and purposes, Jennifer Hailstone’s life was taking some dark and unexpected turns.
She was grieving after losing both her job and her partner and was struggling to live without a lot of resources.
But all she wanted was her smile back.
A few years ago, Hailstone’s teeth began to chip and break.
Attempts to have them fixed failed and actually caused more dental fractures. She was left with many missing and decaying teeth.
Recently out of a relationship, the 58-year-old didn’t have rent money, let alone the funds to fix her teeth.
But her dental problems had become so pronounced that Hailstone could barely eat.
She chose to sell a valuable carving of two fish she’d bought many years ago for $4,500.
In February, Hailstone posted a message on Kijiji, a web-based classified ad service.
“I am looking for a dentist who might be able to help me save my smile,” she wrote in the ad. “It’s so bad, I can’t even chew anymore, as I do not have enough teeth to chew with.”
She said she would gladly donate her fish carving to any dentist prepared to do the work.
She received an unexpected response to her ad.
“Hi I saw your ad in Kijiji, I am not a dentist, but if I were to pay for your dental work, what would you estimate the entire bill being?” the person responding wrote.
The man was prepared to donate $5,000, which he said was his typical donation.
Hailstone got an estimate for the work, which turned out to be $6,900.
She said she’d be happy just to have her upper teeth done, which would cost a fraction of that amount.
A young, slender man walked into Surrey Place Dental Group and placed the full amount for all Hailstone’s dental work – in cash – on the counter.
A representative from the dental group said she’d never seen such a generous act from a stranger and noted Hailstone had a “dental angel.”
Hailstone wrote to the man and thanked him.
He replied, saying he was delighted to help.
“Knowing I can make such a difference in someone’s life makes all this donating stuff worth it,” he wrote.
It’s the last Hailstone heard from him.
She will begin to have the dental work done on March 25.
By the end of the month, she plans to move out to Abbotsford and continue looking for work as a building caretaker.
She says if she’s able to gain employment, she will pay the stranger’s kindness forward, so his gift keeps giving.