We hear a lot about Canadians being really nice people and saying “sorry” for things that aren’t their fault. It’s a rather worn-out trope, but there’s still this idea that the country north of ours is just more kind, polite and inviting.
This story only goes to fuel that stereotype.
This all happened because certain provinces in Canada observe a holiday known as “Family Day,” which is exactly what it sounds like. It occurs on Feb. 18, and Ontario is one of the provinces that recognizes it.
“Family Day was originally created to give people time to spend with their families but it also provides a day off between New Years Day and Good Friday as they are approximately three months apart,” the Statutory Holidays Canada website says.
This particular grocery store, Food Basics, is located in Kingston, Ontario, and the employees were all off on Feb. 18, ostensibly enjoying time with their families.
But, as you may have personally experienced, people don’t stop eating on holidays (they usually eat more) and it’s common to forget a few items until the day of, which necessitates a grocery store run.
Several people approached the Food Basics store and entered. Somehow, the doors were left unlocked, so would-be shoppers waltzed right in. There were a few who realized what was happening and stayed outside the store, unsure of how to react.
You can imagine what such a temptation would result in: ransacking the store, taking valuable items, perhaps even vandalizing. But no, everyone was calm, cool and collected.
When one witness (who preferred to remain anonymous) saw a man walking out of the store with some items, they questioned him — in a mild, almost friendly way, of course.
“I was standing there trying to decide what to do, and a guy comes out of the store with two packages of cherry tomatoes,” the anonymous witness told the Kingstonist.
“So I asked ‘Hey, buddy! You just taking some tomatoes?’ He said ‘I left $5 on the counter.’”
And he had. Eventually, police were called sometime in the afternoon and alerted to the situation, but they couldn’t find any clear evidence of foul play, either.
“It looks as though there was no damage, and the situation wasn’t out of control or anything,” Constable Ashley Gutheinz said.
“The doors were open, and we don’t know… what’s to blame for that, but it appears that the store manager indicated nothing was seriously damaged or stolen.”
Katarina (Katie) Oestreich, a communications specialist with METRO (who owns Food Basics), told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, that the story was true — and added more to it.
“We can confirm the story below,” she wrote. “A customer took two packs of cherry tomatoes and left $5 on the counter. Another woman did her grocery shop and returned the next day to pay in full.”
“This is quite an unusual event but speaks volumes about just how great the community and our Food Basics customers truly are. We would like to extend our gratitude to the customers who visited us on Family day for their respectful patronage at our store.”
While the person responsible for the situation may be getting a less-than-friendly reprimand behind the scenes, it’s comforting to know that even without employees present and watching, some customers are still well-behaved and honest.
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