From Shelburne to Windsor: paying it forward for Carmen

Folks are lending a hand in memory of a little girl

Colin Chisholm
Published on January 28, 2016

Carmen Huskilson, pictured with her brother Ryan, inspired people across the country to do random acts of kindness. (Submitted photo)

WINDSOR – You may have seen some smiling faces at some of the local businesses in Windsor on Jan. 27.

Several of them were participating in a pay-it-forward campaign, which began following the death of five-year-old Carmen Huskilson, of Shelburne.

In Huskilson’s obituary and in comments from her parents, their desire was to see neighbours, family and friends pay it forward in her memory. That quickly turned into a movement that has made its way to Windsor.

Jennifer Daniels, the owner of Daniel’s Flower Shop in Windsor, said she was surprised to receive a pay-it-forward gift from a fellow shop owner.

“Leesa (White) from Our Mother’s Keepers came in with a beautiful little packaged gift for me,” Daniels said.

“I was taken aback and asked her why and she pulled out the information regarding Carmen and the pay it forward initiative,” Daniels continued.

White had been a recipient and wanted to continue the chain.

“I did up a little gift package and sent it on to another business as well, including all the materials that Leesa had provided me.”

Daniels didn’t want to say who received her gift, as she wanted it to remain a surprise.

“It represents gratitude and continues to show how grateful that family was for what was done for them,” she said. “It’s a beautiful tribute to their daughter. I’d like to see it continue.”

Daniels said it makes sense for the pay it forward movement to make its way to the Windsor area.

“That’s who we are,” she said.

White, the owner of Our Mother’s Keepers, said she received her gift from another store owner in town earlier that day.

“They explained what it was for and asked if I would return it myself, and I did,” White said.

“I think it’s wonderful. It’s a little thing that goes a long way,” she added. “You don’t have to spend money. You can do something like help someone cross the street, hold the door open, shovel your neighbour’s walkway. Who isn’t happy with someone doing something nice for them?”

Other confirmed businesses that have participated in the pay it forward initiative include Scotiabank, Home Hardware and the Dollars and Cents Discount Store.

“Instead of focusing on their own grief, which would be perfectly understandable, they want to use the tragic death of their child to make the world a better place by doing good things in her memory,” White said. “I think we should all do something, whether it’s in memory of someone, or just for positivity.”

People continue to share their pay it forward stories on the Facebook group Paying it Forward, In memory of Carmen Faith Huskilson.

Stories have already come in from all over the country.