Tale of forgiveness for theft triggers flood of gift-giving

Free groceries and Christmas gifts are piling up for a Nova Scotia man who forgave the thief who ran off with his turkey dinner and presents.

Frank (Mike) Foley went shopping in Bridgetown on Wednesday. But a thief broke into his car and stole the groceries and gifts he just bought.

Getting into the car was easy. The back window was already broken, and Foley says it was covered only by a sheet of plastic affixed with duct tape.

Instead of calling the police, Foley posted a message on his Facebook page offering the thief a chance to return everything:

"I want you to know that I forgive you for this as it seems that you needed these things more than I do. The turkey and groceries will not ruin our Christmas dinner for we will still have something for dinner that day and the gifts you stole were material things that we can do without.

"But I want you to understand that there is no way for me to replace these things because I used the last of the money we had to purchase these things.

"If you can't find it in your heart to return them then I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and may God Bless You and your Family. I do forgive you and wish no bad things on you."

Foley has not reported the theft to the police. He stands by the spirit of his post.

"Whoever did this obviously was desperate," he told CBC News on Thursday.

Foley closed his small business two years ago to look after his wife, who has multiple sclerosis and is terminally ill. He has a nine-year-old son with autism and a 16-year-old daughter.

Foley said he has not heard from the thief, but he has received more than 1,000 emails, phone calls and visits from generous people bearing groceries and gift cards.

He keeps telling them it's not necessary.

"They keep saying, 'You know what, we want to do this for you,' and it's so overwhelming," Foley said.

Foley isn't giving up on the person who took his turkey dinner and presents. He said he's willing to share what he has, if only the thief will reach out to him.

Foley also hopes his children learn from the experience.

"I hope that they learn that the world really isn't a bad place," he said.

[ [ [['xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx', 11]], '27013743', '0' ], [ [['keyword', 9999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999]], 'videoID', '1', 'overwrite-pre-description', 'overwrite-link-string', 'overwrite-link-url' ] ]