Digging Deep column: From News route to vibrant Garden City

Congratulations, readers! You came through with flying colours.

I say that as the Richmond News carrier for a good number of you. I had to give up my newspaper route for a caregiving reason after half a year, but you’d proven yourselves by then.

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As I brought the paper to 125 doors, I saw many of you. No one was ever unpleasant. Most exchanged greetings with me, engaging with warmth and respect.

Early on, one of you — working in a home office — popped out to receive the paper and offer me two $20 gift cards for fast food restaurants. You’d been given them and don’t eat there and thought I might like them or know someone who would.

I did, thank you.

One hot day, you — an exuberant fellow slinging green bins of trimmings onto a recycling truck — kept up with me from house to house, with good-natured comments when our paths met.

Then, you fetched something from the cab and said, “You need this more than me.”

I’d just taken a break, so I gratefully declined the bottled water.

Another sunny afternoon, you — a young man and woman driving by — called out as you came to a stop. I’d delivered the News to your parents’ house earlier, and you liked my “Digging Deep” column and talked about follow-up action.

Soon after I resigned the route, some of you dropped in at the Richmond News office with a note of thanks and a $100 gift card. I bought Christmas dinner with it, so the family could share in your kindness.

One reason for doing the route was to earn income that I could pass on to good causes, and the money I’d saved on Christmas groceries enabled me to give $175 to the food bank. (After donation tax credits, the net outlay is about $100).

Then I responded to you with my family’s homemade Christmas cards.

My route usually wound up at the Richmond Animal Hospital. You, staff — mostly young women — always welcomed me with big smiles and thoughtful words. After each visit, you sent me home with a booster shot of happiness.

All of this matters to a newspaper carrier who is trying to get the job done well, in any conditions, at modest pay. 

It’s related to a stated goal of Garden City Conservation, respect for the legacy name “Garden City” as a community value. The garden of the concept is more than a green milieu buzzing with life. It needs people to steward it and make it homelike, with none too lowly to belong. 

When I delivered your paper, you saw a senior who might have depended on it to make ends meet, and I felt at home with you.

In that way, you helped us to be who we want to be, the Garden City.

Jim Wright is president of the Garden City Conservation Society

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