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Calgary Transit workers help grant teenager’s ultimate birthday wish

Calgary teen's wallet returned - plus transit operators add a little extra to the birthday present.

Panic struck on the eve of Sloan McGinn’s 17th birthday as he embarked on a shopping excursion at Chinook Mall, only to be confronted by a heart-wrenching realization upon leaving his bus—his wallet was missing.

Luckily, his wallet was returned to him soon after, thanks to the help of three transit officers.

McGinn was excited that he got his birthday money a little early, and due to his passion for basketball, he wanted to get new basketball shoes at Chinook Mall.

“I was super excited that I got my money a little early. I wanted some new basketball shoes,” he said.

“My pockets were too short and when my wallet fell out on the bus, I didn’t notice.”

What came next was a shocking realization.

“I knew what happened as soon as I got off. Instantly, my stomach dropped, and the panic hit me,” he said.

“I immediately submitted a missing item report to the city and hoped that it would come back to me. Even if the money wasn’t there, I’d be happy just having my wallet back.”

Paying it forward

Dominique Padmaraj, a Calgary Transit operator, was given the wallet on the bus by a stranger who found it and ended up handing it to his Operations supervisor, Inderjit Chauhan.

“People lose things all the time, like jackets, gloves, and wallets, too,” he said.

“I knew that somebody would miss this. I didn’t even see the money, I just gave it to my supervisor.”

Chauhan received the wallet, but couldn’t return it on his own.

“As per transit policy, I went through the wallet and saw his ID. I saw that his address was close by,” he said.

“Sadly, I couldn’t leave my designated zone, so I gave it to my friend who supports that area and saw if he could return it.”

Gurpal Guraya, another Operations supervisor was in charge of the designated zone where Sloan McGinn and his mother lived, and promptly took the wallet and tried to return it.

“Chauhan called me and asked if I could return the wallet, and I said yes. I headed over and rang the doorbell, but no one was home,” he said.

He said he explained the situation and gave the neighbours a business card to hand over the McGinn’s mom.

“A day later, I got an email from her, and I returned it,” Guraya said.

During all this, Sloane McGinn was clueless as to what was going on. He had no idea that four separate people banded together to help him get his wallet back.

“I was just at my dad’s house during all this. Suddenly, I get a text and it shocked me,” he said

“It was a photo of my wallet, and nothing was missing. Not even a single cent or card.”

After Guraya returned the wallet, he was satisfied that he helped the way he did.

“It was all worth it in the end. I never really saw this as a big issue, just us trying to help someone who was in need,” he said.

“With this world being so negative right now, I hope that what we did could inspire him to have a bit more kindness and faith in humanity.”

At the Friday media event, the three transit officers gifted Sloane McGinn an extra birthday present— a basketball and a monthly transit pass.

McGinn was blown away by the officer’s kindness.

“I’m so lucky to have four different people work so hard just to help me,” he said.

“It really shows me the kindness this world has to offer”.