NEWS

Corner Brook woman gets new sealskin purse thanks to complete stranger

03/25/2015 01:37 EDT | Updated 05/25/2015 05:59 EDT
A Corner Brook woman who had her sealskin purse confiscated by American border guards and forced to pay a fine is now overwhelmed at the generosity of a stranger.

Nora Fitzgerald had the purse taken when she was recently trying to cross into the U.S. from New Brunswick. Then on Monday, she got a letter in the mail saying she was facing a $250 fine for trying to bring animal fur into the country illegally.

- 'I'm shocked': Corner Brook woman fined $250 for sealskin purse 

- Corner Brook woman's sealskin purse seized at U.S. border 

The whole ordeal has been stressful for Fitzgerald, but thanks to someone who sympathized with her story, a new sealskin purse is on its way to Corner Brook.

Craftsman Wilbur Hobbs from Bonavista heard about the purse being confiscated, and decided to make Fitzgerald a new one. 

He sent the purse in the mail with $250 tucked inside to help Fitzgerald pay the border penalty fees.

Fitzgerald had other offers, but was especially overwhelmed by Hobbs' kindness. 

"I just can't believe it," she said.

"I just can't believe he's such a kind person."

She said she spoke to Hobbs on the phone after he made the offer, and couldn't believe that he did it for no other reason than just to help her out.

"I've been told that's not unusual for Wilbur, he's a very kind person," she said.

She posted on his Facebook page, calling his kindness what "Newfoundlanders are all about."

Wilbur Hobbs has been working with sealskin for a number of years, ever since he started out making small bookmarks and key chains.

His skills have improved over the years, and now he makes custom purses and other wares for various customers.

While he normally charges more than $100 for such items, when he heard Fitzgerald's plight, he felt he had to step in and help.

"I just did it because that was from my heart," he said.

"If this helps this lady in any way, by all means."

Not only did he make her a new purse, but Hobbs also decided to take $250 of the American money he had collected up over the years and put in the purse to make up for Fitzgerald's fine.

"Over the years selling my wares, when somebody gives me $10 or $20 American, I never spend it, I just put it aside," he said.

"When you give a purse or a coin purse to anybody, you should put something in there of monetary value — for good luck."

Fitzgerald can't believe that someone would do such a thing for her, and will never forget Hobbs' gesture.

"From this one negative, a positive," she said.

"He's an angel with a heart bigger than the universe."

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