Lottery winners paying it forward

Community Featured

Margie and Gerry Stewart were lucky after they won $1.75 million with Lotto 649 just about a year ago. To share their cheer and a bit of their luck, the couple have been playing Mr. and Mrs. Claus and helping out some people around Pictou County, just for the joy of it.

“It was sporadic, spur of the moment,” said Margie about her decision to start paying for purchases for unsuspecting customers in various stores around the county. The couple started paying for random strangers’ groceries and other things around Thanksgiving as a way to show how they are thankful for what they have.

“I thought about my year and how thankful I was,” she said. The pair bought turkeys and hams for people and made sure some people walked out of Sobeys without paying a cent for their groceries.

As Christmas approached, Margie shared that they were going to pick a name from the gift tree at the mall and buy presents for that person, but that didn’t work out. She said she was in Walmart one day and was walking around and did several laps of the store just scouting the place out looking for people she thought she would like to help out, mostly looking for those with kids buying toys and other things.

“Then I just decided to sporadically do something for someone at Christmas,” she said. The Stewarts have now done this a number of times at different stores and have enjoyed every minute of it as they get to see the reactions first hand of those they surprise. For a place known for its generosity when someone is in need, Margie feels this is a very fitting way to give back and share her spirit of paying it forward.

“It’s just mine and Gerry’s way of paying it forward,” she said. “If a person had an opportunity to pay it forward it doesn’t matter how big or small it is, they should do it.”

Margie is hoping that their spirit will help inspire others to pay it forward as well and continue a chain of giving. With recipients of the purchases sharing tears, hugs and stories and heartfelt thanks with the Stewarts, they are overwhelmed with how wonderful their community is.

“I never expected the response because so many people do so many things,” she said. “We are just very very happy.”

Margie and Gerry Stewart accepting their $1.75 million cheque last year.  (Submitted photo)