A WORTHING mum whose bag was stolen said she was moved to tears by the kindness of strangers who helped her in a crisis.
Mother-of-three Katharine Archer, of Heene Road, was left without her phone, wallet and door keys when her bag was taken at around 11.30am on Monday, December 20, while she posted Christmas cards to friends near the Heene Road area.
She immediately cancelled her bank cards and phone, and changed the locks at her home, before the bag turned up nearly a week later on Boxing Day in the garden of a house in Browning Road, Worthing.
But a week which had shaken her faith in human kindness went from bad to worse when she miscalculated the bus fare needed for her and her three children, aged eight, six and three, for a trip to Brighton.
Katharine, 41, resigned herself to the embarrassment of having leaving the bus in Worthing town centre.
But a kind-hearted grandmother, Rosie Grove, of The Maples, Ferring, came to her aid and insisted on paying for the remaining cost of the fare to Brighton.
Embarrassed but touched by the kindness of the gesture, Katharine was then moved to tears when another woman put £10 in her bag.
Katharine politely refused and told the woman she was without enough money only because her bag had been stolen, but she was unable to hold back the tears because of the kindness of the gestures.
“When my bag was stolen, I was disappointed that people can be like that. It was horrible to think that someone was going through my bag and personal belongings and had been using them in some way.
“When I realised I didn’t have enough money, I was embarrassed because it was in front of a whole bus-full of people, but a lady shouted ‘let her on, it’s Christmas!’ and paid the extra money.
“I was embarrassed but afterwards I thought it was really lovely for her to do that. Then another woman came over and put £10 in my handbag. It was a lovely contrast to what had happened and made me feel a lot better and forget about the negative stuff – I ended up in tears,” she said.
Following the act of kindness, Katharine insisted on taking Mrs Grove’s number so she could thank her at a later date, but the 81-year-old insisted she needed no thanks.
She told the Herald it was “her nature” to give to others in need, despite not being materially wealthy.
“I saw her and her lovely three children and I knew I had to help. I said to the driver ‘don’t make them get off, it’s Christmas’ and I paid the money.
“I’m not a rich lady but I’m always doing things for other people. The other day I saw a homeless man in the street and went to Marks & Spencer to get him a cup of coffee and a sandwich.”
She added: “Because I never had much, I give what I get – I’m not used to holding on to much.”