Wendy Sutherland still believes in Santa Claus.
She doesn’t read or write and doesn’t really understand money. But she would be distressed to know Santa sometimes can’t bring toys or gifts for everyone, said her father, Ray Sutherland.
A few months ago, the 45-year-old woman, who operates on the same level as a five-year-old, became a newspaper carrier. Accompanied by caregiver Maria Batocabe, she delivers 75 copies of TC Extra! Extra! every week.
“They’re working hard,” said Tanya Clark, district manager, circulation. “Rain or shine, Wendy and Maria are out there trying to find safe, dry locations to leave the papers.”
On Dec. 1, Clark received a letter from Ray Sutherland, enclosing two of his daughter’s uncashed cheques.
“It would be Wendy’s wish that the sum of these cheques be deposited to the TC Christmas Fund as Wendy and Maria’s gift,” he wrote.
The letter touched the hearts of Times Colonist staff.
“It made people cry. For Wendy to be so positive and happy and wanting to do that. It was a really kind thing for her to do,” Clark said. “We know how hard they work and it’s a thankless job. It was her entire month of December profits.”
Clark wrote back to Wendy Sutherland: “I hope Santa spoils you because you deserve to be spoiled.”
Ray Sutherland said his daughter doesn’t express much verbally, but her actions show she loves to share things with people.
“She’s a very compassionate person,” he said, adding that Batocabe is also really generous. “She does almost all the work and in my view should have kept the wages, but she insisted they stay with Wendy.”
Wendy Sutherland’s favourite things are the sun and jigsaw puzzles, said Batocabe. So if the sun comes out on Christmas Day, she’ll get everything she wants.
And their gift will help others have a wonderful Christmas.
This year, the Times Colonist is working with the Mustard Seed and the Salvation Army to give as many people as possible a wonderful Christmas. It’s all part of the Christmas Giving Network, an umbrella organization that co-ordinates Christmas efforts throughout the region.
How to donate
• Go to Times Colonist Christmas Fun That takes you to a site that is open 24 hours a day and provides an immediate tax receipt.
• Or mail a cheque, payable to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund Society, to the Times Colonist Christmas Fund, 2621 Douglas St., Victoria, B.C. V8T 4M2.
• You can use your credit card by phoning 250-995-4438 between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. Outside those hours, messages will be accepted.