Blind woman robbed of $800 by newfound 'friend' she was trying to help
Published Wednesday, October 18, 2017 9:26AM EDT
A blind woman's attempt to regain her independence ended in a hotel room roughly 400 kilometres from home -- betrayed by a stranger, her faith in humanity badly shaken.
The woman, who wished to be identified only as "Sally," took a bus from her home in Sudbury, Ont. to Toronto for a medical appointment. She chose to make the journey on her own, without her daughter at her side.
Sally said she passed the time on the hours-long chartered bus trip by chatting with a woman seated beside her, who spoke of a rough life, marked by a failed stint in rehab and sadness over the death of her mother.
"I felt sorry for her. And then she was telling me she had no place to go," Sally told CTV Toronto, explaining that her travel companion asked if she could go to Sally's hotel room in the city.
"She asked to stay here, and I told her she could," Sally said, recalling how they chatted for hours. But when Sally went to the bathroom, she says the woman rushed out of the hotel room.
"I came back out, and she was passing by me to go out. She said she was going to the vending machine," Sally said. "(It) seemed weird, so I went and checked my jacket and my wallet. All my money was gone. I had $800 in there. She took my money."
Sally said she rushed to the front desk, shouting after the woman. She was told the stranger was last seen getting into a cab. All she had left was the $100 she hid in her bra.
Toronto police said they are reviewing security images from the hotel, the bus, and the terminal to get a description of the woman behind the alleged theft.
"It's extremely upsetting and sad because it's preying on the vulnerable in our society," Const. Jenifferjit Sidhu said. "This woman took advantage of her, of her innocence and her kindness. Now she has no money to get back home."
A GoFundMe campaign set up by Sally's daughter to raise money to bring her back to Sudbury has surpassed its $1,000 goal, raising nearly $3,000 in 13 hours.
Sally said the outpouring of support has helped ease the impact of the stranger's deception.
"It's beautiful," Sally said of the GoFundMe campaign. "Thank you. It's very overwhelming."
With a report from CTV Toronto's Tracy Tong