An Okotoks hockey team recently took action to turn a wrong into a right.
In a recent investigation, Detective Darcy Williams with the Calgary Police Service was able to track a stolen phone to a buyer, a 13-year-old Calgary girl.
The phone originally belonged to Kyle Baumgardner, who was looking to sell it online. After he got an offer, he arranged to meet up with the buyer, and upon showing them the device, they snatched it from his hands and fled.
The phone later appeared online again, this time being sold by the thief. It seemed like a good deal to Calgary teen Taysha Andersen-Fraser, who had saved close to $500 for her first phone over a few months and had no idea she was buying stolen merchandise.
When Williams tracked the phone to the girl, he had to confiscate it in order to return it to its original owner, even after Taysha's grandmother filled him in on the background and her granddaughter's hard work.
Her grandmother, Gail Fraser, says she was a little skeptical at first, but the seller quickly gained their trust.
"He seemed like just a regular family man who was selling his son's cellphone. He just looked like a very nice man, he kept reassuring us over and over that 'you can try and put the SIM card in now, it'll work, everything's fine,' he just seemed like a very very nice man and we took his word for it."
Williams, who also acts as head coach for the girls U18 Okotoks Oilers, couldn't get the incident out of his head and told the team about it that same evening.
He wanted to make this right somehow and told the girls to think about what they could do to help.
"I knew all I had to do was plant the seed of an idea of what we could do and they would come up with a great idea, and they did," says Williams.
A few ideas were floated, including donating an old phone, but as luck would have it, they were scheduled to hold a bottle drive the following weekend.
They decided to use some of the money raised in the drive to buy a new phone.
At the same time, Williams was also speaking with the phone's original owner, who was curious to hear what had happened and how his phone was tracked down.
After hearing the story, the owner also wanted to help out and offered to sell the phone at a reduced rate.
"He was very accommodating and willing to make sure that she got that phone back, even if it was at a reduced price. He said when that phone was grabbed from his phone and that person ran off, he thought it was as good as gone, he was never going to see it again, so he was able to, in his eyes, make a wrong right."
The team raised enough money for the phone as well as a screen protector and a gift card.
Williams went back to the same house he visited before, this time bearing a gift instead of bad news.
It took a bit of coaxing from the girl's family to bring her out, since her last experience ended with her having to forfeit her phone, but Williams says she was speechless once she had the phone in her hands.
"She was at a loss for words, she said, word for word, 'I don't know what to say or do right now,' and I just told her 'you don't have to say or do anything. This is something we wanted to do for you and we're happy we could get you the phone back that you actually saved up all your money for.'"
For Williams, not only was it a chance to do the right thing, but it was a chance to instill some hope in someone who was gravely wronged.
"This could've just been a case where she lost her money and called it a lesson learned, but at her age, and she did nothing wrong, I wanted to show that to her. 'You did everything right, you did all the checks but unfortunately, there are people out there that are taking advantage of trusting people.' I wanted to make something right."
Gail says it definitely left Taysha with that optimistic feeling.
"She's emphasizing more on the good of the people that stepped forward to help her. She was very very happy about that, she said not everybody would go ahead and do something like that for somebody that they don't even know."
Williams knows it'll be something the team won't forget either.
"They were able to work as a team off the ice in this instance. That, I think, is the most rewarding. Whether you win or lose games throughout the season, you talk to kids who played hockey when they get older and you ask them what they remember, they don't remember the wins, the loses, the medals, they remember the stuff they did as a team off the ice, joking around in the hotel during a tournament, stuff like this. This is something they're all going to remember probably for a very long time and feel good about it, as they should."