Sue is a longstanding volunteer with us at Furniture Bank. During her 2 years as a client services volunteer, she’s worked with over 200 clients – taking them around our showroom floor and helping them select furniture and housewares to furnish their newly established homes with. Her kindness, calm demeanor and sense of humour resonates with our clients, and we’re fortunate to have her on board.
In this post, Sue shares with you 3 of her most memorable client experiences.
Mother Helps Son Start New Life
A lady in her 70’s came in one day to find furniture for her 40 year-old son. Her son had just become eligible to move into his own apartment and needed some furniture.
Sounds simple, a single man living in a studio apartment. It should be easy to satisfy this lady’s requirements. However… her son was disabled and in a wheelchair.
Fortunately she had arrived for her Furniture Bank appointment prepared with vital measurements. Because of his wheelchair, her son’s furniture needed to be of a certain height.
We searched and searched. We were fortunate. We found everything he needed including many kitchen items for her son who is a good cook!
When she arrived, she was doubtful that we would be able to provide what she needed. By the time she left, she was so grateful that we could help her son start his new life.
A Client’s Dedication
A client I helped last year still haunts me.
She drove here from the Ottawa area with one of her daughters who suffered from MS. I believe they were fleeing from a domestic abuse situation. She and her daughter had slept in her car the night before because they didn’t have enough money for a motel. The only reason she had been able to travel to Toronto was because of the generosity of a neighbour who had given her some money to leave.
At that time, Furniture Bank had a minimum delivery charge of $50. Fifty dollars was all the money she had left.
As we walked around the showroom and I showed her different items that were available, she was incredulous about the choice and quality of the furniture.
She said to me, more than once, “Oh Sue, can I really have this? Really?”
“I’ve never had such beautiful things in my life”, she said.
She was driving a small car with some sort of makeshift trailer attached. She had come prepared – she also had with her a number of lengths of rope. I thought she was incredibly optimistic about how much furniture would fit in her car and on the trailer. However, with the help of our excellent warehouse staff, I watched a miracle unfold as they maneuvered her items in her car and trailer and were successful in somehow getting everything packed away.
She came to Toronto to join her two other children, one of whom has a physical disability and is in a wheelchair. I think about her often and wonder how she is. She struck me as a strong person and I like to think that she’s happy in her new life.
Mohammed’s Special Table
Mohammed asked me if he could have a small table he was looking at.
“Sue, I have a back problem. May I have this table for my medication?”, he asked.
“Of course you may. I hope your problem is not serious”.
“Well,” he told me, “I have a bullet lodged in my spine and it cannot be removed so I am often in pain.”
He went on to tell me that he and his family had been shot when he was a young boy in Afghanistan and all of his family had been killed.
After the incident, he was sent to Canada for medical treatment. He was placed with a foster family in Canada.
He told me that when people tell him they feel sorry for him he says “oh no, I am a very fortunate person because I came to this country and was raised by a loving couple I think of as my parents.”
We were able to find everything he needed for his new apartment.