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Coat in waiting

Cold weather and warm heart prompt Christmas gesture

Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 19/01) - An early Christmas present is waiting for a boy who two weeks ago unknowingly touched the kind heart of Gina Neric.

NNSL Photo

Good Samaritan Gina Neric, with her son, Gregory, is hoping to give this new coat and snow pants to a boy she met two weeks ago. - Richard Gleeson/NNSL photo

On Dec. 6, Neric was waiting at the entrance to the NorthwesTel Tower for a ride home after work. She saw a boy, about nine or ten years old. He was wearing a faded red hat and a coat that Neric saw was not nearly warm enough.

"It was just a light jacket with a fleece lining," said the 13-year city resident. "I said, 'Why are you wearing such a light jacket when it's so cold?'"

The boy told Neric it was the only jacket he had. That soft-spoken reply touched Neric deeply.

"My heart just melted. I said, 'Okay, see me here tomorrow.'"

That evening, instead of going straight home, Neric went shopping. She bought a new jacket and snow pants for the boy, who she had never met before.

The next evening, Neric stood at the entrance holding the large shopping bag containing the coat and snow pants.

"I waited for 30 minutes but he didn't come," she said.

"My mistake is I didn't ask him his name. He was just a little boy. Maybe he got scared."

It's not the first time Neric has helped a stranger. About six years back she was heading home when she came upon an elderly man who had fallen and cut himself.

She hailed a cab, helped the man in, and took him to the hospital. She recalled that the cab driver refused payment for the ride.

Neric remains determined to get the coat and snow pants to the boy. She is keeping them at her office in the hope he will show up one day.

She asks that anyone out there who knows of a boy with a light jacket and faded red hat to let him know there's a warm coat waiting for him. And a warm-hearted lady eager to hand it over.