It's a lesson in paying it forward that spans two families, three generations and a 14-year gap.
Though he wasn't expecting any mail at the time, Port Moody resident Larry Coleman followed a hunch that led him to his porch on Christmas Eve.
Situated on the sill of his Ioco Road doorway was a thank-you card recalling an act of kindness his late father had performed in 1999.
"I was unlocking the door, and I thought to myself, 'This is silly, I'm not expecting anything,'" Coleman said. "But I opened it up anyway and on the door sill was an envelope that said Merry Christmas on it."
The card had only a first name attached to it - Sarah - and recalled a rainy spring day 14 years ago. On that day, a stranded motorist found herself having to walk from the Port Moody Public Library back to her home on Flavelle Drive. On top of the fact that it was raining, the card writer had a six-month-old daughter in her arms.
"About half-way home, my arms were aching and it was beginning to rain," the card reads. "A very kind gentleman who lived in this house noticed my struggle and offered me a ride home. This simple act of kindness has stayed with me through the years."
The letter was referencing Larry's father, Leonard, who died in 2005.
"I got all teared up when I read that card," Coleman said, adding he was unaware of his dad's good deed until reading the card. "Dad was a really good guy. He would help anyone. Someone saying thank you after 14 years really touched me."
Christmas Day saw Coleman convene with other family members for a holiday meal and, to a person, they were all overcome with the same kinds of emotions. In fact, Coleman couldn't read the card aloud and instead asked his sister-in-law to.
Buoyed by the profound effect the card had on him, Coleman set out to find the seemingly anonymous card writer. He purchased a professionally made sign that read, "Thank you Sarah, please call" in the hopes the two could connect.
About a week passed by, and he had heard nothing.
"I just want to say thank you to her because it made so many people's Christmas," Coleman said. "Even the place where I got the sign made, one of the gals there kind of teared up as I told her about why I'm getting the sign made. It's been the same thing with my neighbours."
But on Jan. 7 the call came through, and Larry put a voice to the name.
As it turns out, the letter writer, Sarah Bondi, lives a few blocks away. At first, Bondi wanted to remain anonymous, but her 14-yearold daughter Kira - whom Bondi was carrying that day in 1999 - convinced her mother to do otherwise.
"When I passed the sign, I think I went 11 shades of purple. I thought this whole thing would be done anonymously," Bondi said. "But I was so tickled pink with that sign. I knew that I had to say thank you and to make sure that his family knows that I haven't forgotten."
The pair connected over the phone on Jan. 7, and met in person for the first time last Thursday.
It wouldn't have happened were it not for Kira, who, along with her classmates, has focused on random acts of kindness throughout the school year. It was that classroom focus that prompted Bondi to write the card.
"It was so simple and it was only three minutes out of his way," Bondi said. "He was such a gentleman. It was a simple, simple act of kindness and I always like to tell my kids that these are the things that are so important in life."