This past week - under the heading of believe it or not - comes a tale of a young woman who passed herself off as a volunteer to steal from the Poppy Fund.
Using her toddler as a prop, the woman managed to steal from at least six Coquitlam locations - heists that caused disgust and dismay among the hardworking Coquitlam Legionnaires.
The fund, begun in 1926, is in place to help needy ex-servicemen and their dependents. Throughout B.C. and the Yukon, there are 156 branches of the Royal Canadian Legion that collectively raise more than $1 million for the fund each year.
In parts of the province and territory that don't have large numbers of veterans, the monies collected are used for other programs such as buying hospital equipment, Meals on Wheels and assistance for the disabled.
And while there may be some who would wring their hands and say the woman must have been in dire straits to do such a despicable thing, we don't agree.
All too often in this day and age we excuse people who make terrible decisions based on expediency.
The young woman knew better, plain and simple. This wasn't a spur of the moment idea. It was a deliberate scam successfully accomplished in at least six different places. Now one could feel sorry for the young woman, but what of all the other young and not-so-young people, including veterans, needing help in this province.
Why would one citizen think it appropriate to take from so many others?
For the many young people throughout B.C. and the Yukon who donated hours to collect for this fund, this is a slap in the face. The cadets who spent hours in the cold collecting poppy donations deserve better than to have another young person show such an appalling lack of respect for the men and women who served for this country.
And what of the child she packed on her hip as an innocent accomplice? What is the toddler learning - that it's fine to tell lies and steal if you happen to need the money? While we suspect the woman may have been targeting an easy mark, we hope for the sake of her child and her conscience that she has a change of heart. We hope next year she'll be among the many wearing a poppy and honouring the memory of the veterans who gave so much.