Letter: Kindness is alive in Cloverdale

The family of Bill Leopold writes about the kindness and compassion he found during his 12 years collecting bottles on his daily rounds.

Bill Leopold was a hard working Cloverdale grandfather who made many friends along his collection routes.

To the editor;

In this day and age, the bulk of the news is about wars, gang killings and who wronged who. Faith in humanity can become quite thin when this is all you hear about, but here in Cloverdale there is kindness, concern and compassion for fellow man. Our father/grandfather was the recipient of these emotions.

His name was Bill Leopold and he looked homeless walking around the community pushing his shopping cart in his dirty and tattered “work clothes”.

He collected discarded bottles and cans to return for money towards his granddaughter’s college tuition, and he diligently combed the neighbourhood every day.

The walking kept him healthy and strong, but the people he met along his travels enriched his soul.

This story is not about Bill, who passed away on Dec. 22, 2013 at the age of 85, but about the kindness he experienced over his 12 years of collecting bottles.

Most people walk away from someone who appears to be down on their luck, or don’t even see the unfortunate person to start with. Strangers assumed Bill was homeless and they showed their compassion by giving him things like a cup of hot coffee, a Tim Horton’s card, dry food items, money or clothes. He was offered hot meals and even actual homeless people offered to share what little they had.

He would tell people he didn’t need these things and explained the bottles were for his granddaughter but many people didn’t believe him and wouldn’t allow him to refuse. So he said, “Thank you,” and the items he received were donated to help others who were in need.

Bill made many friends over the years along his collection routes and felt an obligation to collect from his regular “customers” on specific days.

People would save their bottles for him and worry if he didn’t show up on the scheduled day.

He would talk of his friends but didn’t always know their names but through his description we would like to thank you all.

Thanks Bob, Kim, Eva, the Scottish ladies, the man on the bottom corner apartment with the two dogs, and of course to our neighbours who all supported Bill’s cause.

Thank you Cloverdale for being so compassionate and kind.

– Submitted by Bill’s family, who will be gathering to remember him this Friday.

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