Wally moved by kindnesses

Wally Smith has a new scooter after strangers and friends heard about his plight. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d413790
Wally Smith has a new scooter after strangers and friends heard about his plight. Picture: Marcelo Palacios www.communitypix.com.au d413790

The support worker, who assists elderly people and those with disabilities to maintain their homes and stay independent, has always relied on a scooter to get around.

However, before Christmas Mr Smith went to his local Armadale doctor and parked outside, only to return and find the scooter missing.

He immediately reported this to police, but they could not offer much hope of finding it.

Mr Smith, who works two days a week at Armadale Home Help and is on a disability pension himself, knew he could not afford a new scooter. But even as his distress began to grow, friends rallied.

One woman, a stranger, was at the pharmacy next door when Mr Smith discovered his loss and offered to drive him home.

When he rang to tell his employers, a co-ordinator investigated and found that the bike shop next door had an old vehicle that might suffice. She rang around the office for donations, but though Mr Smith’s colleagues were all willing, it was all a bit too close to Christmas to scrape enough together.

Then Byford’s Karen Dunnett, mother of a bike shop employee, heard the story and decided to help.

She had just managed to save hundreds of dollars in insurance excess after a kindly passerby collected the registration number of a car that had hit Ms Dunnett’s vehicle.

‘I’m a big believer in paying it forward,’ she said.

She wasted no time offering to buy the bike shop’s old model, license it and have the shop replace the parts necessary to make it roadworthy.

Mr Smith said that seeing his new scooter moved him to tears. ‘I didn’t know about the surprise until they took me around there,’ he said.

He is back to helping the community, now that he is mobile again on his new bright yellow scooter.

‘I’m going to get a sticker for it that says ‘Wally’s beast,” he said.