Skip to content

Viral photo of stranger helping woman shows the 'spirit of the Sunshine Coast'

“It’s free to be kind,” says Desiree Lynn.
A photograph captures the moment a stranger helped a woman out with her groceries in Sechelt on the Sunshine Coast.

A Sunshine Coast resident recently captured an act of kindness in a B.C. grocery store parking lot on camera — a sweet moment that has since garnered lots of positive attention.

Michelle Lisa Pargee snapped pictures of that moment last Friday, and shared it to Facebook. Pargee was about to jump out of her vehicle and help a woman who was struggling to put her groceries in the car at the Independent Grocer in Sechelt. But another woman beat her to it. 

"The world is so dark at times and it felt good to see kindness happen right in front of me,” says Pargee.

Since posting the photographs, more than 650 people liked the images and many shared their appreciation for the random act of kindness. 

"I’m surprised by how much attention it received. I posted it spontaneously right after I saw it happen,” Pargee tells Glacier Media.

That stranger in need was Elizabeth Summerfield, 75.

"I'm waiting for hip surgery so it was really quite difficult getting around the store and I was really tired by the time I got back,” she says. 

The kind stranger helped lift all the heavy stuff into the trunk of her vehicle. 

“Then she said, 'Oh, I might as well put the other stuff in the backseat, too,’” recalls Summerfield. 

Desiree Lynn, the Good Samaritan, said it took less than a minute to lend a hand.

"It’s free to be kind,” says Lynn. “We forget, it’s something as simple as opening a door, or saying good morning that can brighten someone’s day, and I mean we could all use a little more sunshine."

This was just one of many kind acts from strangers that day, adds Summerfield.

"This is the spirit of the Sunshine Coast,” she says.

When she first arrived at the grocery store, there were no shopping carts. Summerfield says a woman came running from across the parking lot to offer her one.

While she was shopping, trying to navigate with two canes, the cart wouldn’t turn. A person then came over and moved it for her. Earlier in the day, at another store, a man helped carry out a picture frame to her car.

"I had the nicest chat with him when I was on the way to the car. I was quite happy to find his last name on the [internet],” she says. 

Turns out the man later saw the photograph from the grocery store and commented on the post.

"This happens so often here,” says Summerfield, noting she moved to the Sunshine Coast from the Lower Mainland six years ago, looking for a sense of community.

"I'd like to say thank you very much and I'd like everyone to know that. We all feel very blessed to live amongst such loving people.”