Dan Ervin is looking forward to his blood pressure improving now that his friend Larry is paid back.
“It’s been really high at dialysis, and they can’t figure out why,” said Dan. “I didn’t realize how much stress I was under because of all of this, so I’ll be really interested to know what my blood pressure will now be.”
Dan is a Trail renal patient who has been unsuccessful in getting Air Canada to buck up his $354 refund following a flight he never boarded the afternoon of Sept. 2.
Larry Womacks paid by debit for his friend’s one-way ticket from Castlegar to Vancouver that Saturday. Earlier in the day, Dan received a call that he had 12 hours to get to the coast for a kidney transplant, so his friend stepped in and loaned the money.
The kicker is the transplant was cancelled before the flight took off, and Air Canada wouldn’t immediately refund the ticket.
Both men live on limited income and the proverbial “cheque in the mail” has never arrived.
After the Trail Times ran Dan’s story, two community groups stepped in to help ease his plight.
The Kiwanis Club of Trail donated $355 so Dan could pay his friend back, and members of the former Golden Nugget Saloon in Rossland contributed another $400 for immediate or future medical expenses.
“I was shocked,” Dan told the Trail Times. “I’ll tell you something about myself, I am pretty jaded with life and I was not expecting this kind of help.
“To me, it’s renewed my faith in people,” he shared. “I was overwhelmed by the help and would like to say thank you so much.”
And when Dan is feeling better, he plans to pay it forward.
“I am a retired chef and baker, so I told the Saloon and Kiwanis, that anytime you need someone to cook, you call me.”
Larry, also a retiree, echoes his friend’s gratitude.
“I was floored by how good they were,” he said tearing up. “I’ve lived in Fruitvale since 1947 and Trail for the past eight years, and the people are just so good.”
With the loan squared off, Dan says getting his refund is now based on principal.
But that resolution could still be months away.
After connecting with Air Canada by phone on Friday, Dan says he was told the matter will be sent to the company’s complaint department, which could take another six to eight weeks.
“I finally got hold of a voice at Air Canada,” he said. “They said I couldn’t put in a complaint (by phone) and I can only do it by sending an email.”
Dan, 61, admits he not computer-savvy so that would present a problem.
“The person said they would type everything out and send it on my behalf,” he shared. “So now we are talking after Christmas before anyone will look at it, that’s assuming the email is sent.”
Dan stressed, “They are just trying to make it to the point where I’ll go away – and I won’t go away.”