Letter: The kindness of Strangers

The kindness of one stranger can save lives

On Aug. 13, we went out in our small 14 foot boat, this boat was a gift from an elderly couple who believed the boat still had years of life and great times to offer. The boat is older and not very fast.

Celebrating my 36th birthday, I requested a boat ride on the popular Sylvan lake. My wish came true and yesterday started off as a great day, sun was shining, we stopped in town, enjoying the small shops and candy store.

When leaving the sky was clear, was hot. No less than 10 minutes after launching from town we were experiencing sharp rain piercing down our backs. Our eyes were unable to see through the heavy water falling upon our family of four.

We remained calm, we were unable to see, all we could hear were the waves nearly six feet high crashing into the floor of our small boat, we were being pushed and pulled in so many directions. Fear kicked in for myself, I was soon having flashes of what could happen, worried for my 3-year-old toddler, I demanded to be brought to any dock.

Soon they became close enough to see through the constant waves, rain, and waves. I yelled to a man, I was screaming for help, he said he could not host us, but was willing to take women and children.

Although in shock, we managed to get the 3-year-old off the boat, then my Mom (55) and I (36), were left on shore on a private dock with a Sylvan Lake civilian.

All I know about this man, was his name is Peter, He saved us.

The driver of the boat explained we were lucky we got off, the boat was experiencing waves so high, the boat was ready to flip over, and our light bodies may have not made the trek back to the public boat launch.

Peter was kind, gave us towels, water, and allowed us in his home for a short time while we warmed up. He calmed us down, said that as long as the driver stays close to shore, if the boat flips, he will be able to swim.

I had my toddler, my Mom, we were safe, that is all that mattered at this point.

Peter was kind to drive us to look for the driver of the boat, trees were all over ripped from the ground due to high winds, signs blown all over, I remember Peter’s neighbour coming out and telling me how lucky we were to get to safety. I know, I thank Peter.

There is no doubt in my mind we would have bounced, of fell off the small boat that was being thrown in the waves of Mother Nature.

Anxiety may have got the best of me, I could not breath, I was experiencing a real panic attack, and could not control my breathing.

We managed to escape with just some bruising from waves hitting our backs, and two broken toes, and getting off the boat in a hurry.

I want to point out, not just anyone could have made this trip, our driver had years of experience, and was in the military for 17 years. Peter said a lot of people go out to the lake with no experience.

Peter stated he had never seen waves so high, that they went over his retaining wall. This was a storm of the year in Peters eyes, I pray everyone got out OK.

I want to say thank you. Sylvan Lake will always be in my mind, the lake with the kind people. For a stranger to take us in, he was alone, he had no idea if we were good people, he took the chance and brought us out of what could have been a fatal situation.

I urge everyone to check the weather, once clouds came in, we had 10 minutes, that was so little. I am safe today, sore muscles, bruised, but I am thankful for the angel who saved us. My little family.

Peter, thank you. I hope you know the angel you really are.

Shantell Scragg