B.C. son helps mom replace cherished memories after toonie collection stolen
After a fire destroyed most of the pictures of her children growing up, Mandy Lamarche discovered she could still recall their priceless moments together through coin collecting.
Mandy says her children and grandchildren would often find coins when they were with her and offer them as a “special” gift.
“(For them) it was special,” Mandy smiles. “So for me it was special.”
So, Mandy started collecting the commemorative toonies to honour them.
“The reason I get up every morning is my kids,” Mandy says.
But then, after a recent break-in, Mandy found all her coins were stolen.
“My son just happened to call me at that moment,” Mandy recalls. “I tried not to let him hear me crying.”
But her son, Coty Pleich Drouillard, did hear.
“It was really hard to see her like that,” Coty says.
After consoling his mom, Coty reached out on social media (under a false name to keep his plan a surprise) offering to trade people his regular toonies for their commemorative ones.
“I got a really amazing response from the community,” Coty smiles.
Coty says he drove countless hours and kilometres exchanging coins with strangers (who lived as close as the communities surrounding him to as far away as the province next to him), collecting 30 toonies, three loonies, and a pair of two dollar bills.
“It’s incredible!” Coty says, showing off the collection. “I can’t wait for my mother’s reaction.”
He can’t wait to give back to the mom who gave so much when they were growing up with so little. She raised her kids as a single parent until Coty was 13.
“She would go without eating to feed us,” Coty says. “She would work triple shifts coming up to Christmas to give us everything we wanted.”
So this Christmas, Coty surprised his mom with the gift she didn’t even know she needed.
His family captured the moment on camera. The video shows Mandy opening a card containing coins, followed by a box filled with them, before Coty shares the story behind them.
“I’ve never felt so overwhelmed,” Mandy says, explaining her emotions at the time ranged from disbelief to joy to gratitude.
“This makes it even more special than the ones I had before,” Mandy smiles.
Because more than the coins’ collective value, Mandy’s restored collection is now multiplied by other people’s collective kindness.
The original version of this story referred to Mandy as a single mom. In fact, though she was a single parent while her children were young, Coty says she has been with her husband, Coty's stepdad, since her son was 13.
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