Durham Humane Society gets $25,000 from mystery man
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Ruby Richards is used to getting cats and dogs dropped off at the Humane Society of Durham Region where she works but $25,000?
That came as a huge surprise.
“If animals could talk, they’d be meowing and barking, ‘thanks for helping us!’ a still taken-aback sounding Richards said.
Tuesday afternoon couldn’t have been more normal for Richards, an Animal Health Co-ordinator at the shelter.
It was 3 p.m. and she had just finished making calls about arranging surgeries for a few animals when an ordinary-looking man walked through the shelter doors and approached the front desk where she was working.
Richards said she barely batted an eyelash at the man.
“He looked like any other young guy in his early 20s,” Richards said of the man who said he’d like to make a donation and handed her a plain white envelope.
“We get lots of people in making donations so I didn’t really think anything of it. I asked him if he wanted a tax receipt and he said there was no need for that,” she said.
The man, who she remembers was tall and had dark hair, walked out the doors and Richards casually opened the envelope that contained a bank draft for $25,000.
“I was dumbfounded, just looking at it. My mouth fell open and I let out this scream and instantly burst into tears,” Richards said.
Several volunteers who had been chatting quietly ran up to her to see what was wrong.
“Then the entire place turned into bedlam, as we tried to chase this man down,” Richards said.
She ran out to the parking lot with one of the volunteers and managed to catch the man in his car, getting ready to exit the parking lot.
“Out of the passenger window I yelled, who are you? Can you please tell us your name? Are you sure you don’t want a tax receipt?” Richards said.
“I don’t want anybody to know who I am, I don’t want anything for this, I just want to help,” Richards said the man told her, and he drove away, leaving Richards and the volunteer with tears rolling down their cheeks.
Richards said they’ve had large donations before but never has anybody ever wanted to stay completely anonymous.
“We’ve had large donations but they’ve always wanted a tax receipt or some sort of acknowledgment on your website or on a poster,” she said.
“Nothing has ever happened like this, where someone wants absolutely nothing for such a large donation, it was completely shocking to everyone here,” she said.
The money couldn’t have come at a better time, Richards said.
Just a few hours before the man walked in the door she had called her bookkeeper to inquire whether funds were available to neuter and spay some pets that needed to be adopted. The bookkeeper told her there wasn’t enough money.
“Now we’ve already done two operations and many more are scheduled for next week,” she said, adding that this will allow the animals to be adopted and go to their new homes.
Attached in the envelope was a note that she said she didn’t see at first. It read:
“Life is a lot more valuable than anything that money can buy! All I ask if that you help a stranger one day with no expectation of gain.”
“It was just wonderful, that all he wanted was for us to pay it forward,” she said.