Ruby* had been coming into one of our Op Shops for a couple of years. She was often under the influence of drugs and abusive to the staff. However, one day she approached Shop Manager, Kamila, to ask for a cross. Kamila explained that she didn’t have one then and there but promised to get it for her the next day.
That afternoon on her way home from work, Kamila noticed Ruby walking along the street. She looked sad, her shoulders were slumped, and she was only wearing thongs and light clothing in the middle of winter. That night, Kamila packed an emergency bag of warm clothes from her cupboard as well as the cross ornament from her kitchen.
When Ruby returned to the Op Shop the next day, Kamila offered her the gloves, jumper, shawl, hat and boots, and the cross. Touched by Kamila’s generosity, Ruby opened up and told her that she had wanted to change her life, but up until now no one had given her a chance because they dismissed her as being a “junkie”. Kamila referred Ruby to our Community Services office where she was able to get a voucher for clothes, food and toiletries.
She visited the Op Shop a few more times.
Two years later, Ruby returned to the Op Shop to thank Kamila for going out of her way to treat her “as a normal human being”. She explained that Kamila’s act of kindness had given her the courage to move to a new suburb to start a new life. Ruby shared how she’d been able to stay away from the negative community she’d been a part of, and while she knew there was still a long road to full recovery, she had hope for the journey ahead.
*Name has been changed.