October 14, 2019

Cold yet compassionate Canada

An article by Vinita Kinra (@VinitaKinra)

How many countries in the world today boast of residents who may be homeless or destitute, but will still turn in a lost wallet filled with valuable personal information and cash? Welcome to Canada! A country notorious for its frigid winters and igloo myths, yet comprising people who fiercely uphold moral values of honesty and integrity.

The Toronto Transit Commission has a dedicated “Lost and Found” department where travelers can call to check on belongings left behind in subway trains, streetcars or buses. Countless examples of co-passengers handing over bags and wallets stacked with cash and identification to transit operators have found front-page headlines in local newspapers. Some may argue that the presence of video cameras in Canadian public transit is a deterrent for thieves or the immoral who would like to pocket some currency notes, gift cards or identification belonging to an oblivious rider who callously forgot to off load their most important co-traveler: their bag or wallet.

However, it is hard to argue this very point when presented with frequent scenario where a homeless person sharing a dusty rug with a shaggy dog stumbles upon a bounty as wondrous as a wallet, yet scours it to find the contact information of its rightful owner. S/he could very conveniently buy a few meals or warm clothing with the unexpected windfall and may even be justified for doing so, given their decrepit circumstances.

The only grain of advice here is for the owner to offer a benevolent reward to the person who reunites them with their belongings after they gave them up for lost eternally. It is not uncommon to hear people saying they canceled all their identity cards, credit and debit cards after losing them, to order new ones sometimes with more fee for expedited service, only to receive their lost items in the mail. The cherry on the cake is the fact that the finder of the lost belongings spent their own money to mail out the items to the rightful owner if there was no phone number available.

So before people start telling you how cold and formidable Canadian climate is, equip yourself with an apt rebuttal: “Their land may be cold, but their hearts are warm and compassionate!”

About the author:

Vinita Kinra has been featured among 150 most remarkable Canadians by Canadian Race Relations Foundation. She is a Toronto-based author, editor, speaker and activist, best known for her short story collection, Pavitra in Paris, launched to critical acclaim in 2013. She is also a contributor for India’s largest English daily, The Times of India.

About The Author

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