Naomi Strain is a woman from the city of Nelson, in New Zealand, and something happened to her recently that shocked the community. Let’s start the story from the very beginning.
Strain is not your average woman. In fact, she has a medical condition that sets her apart from most other people. She suffers from uncontrolled epilepsy – something that significantly affects her life.
Indeed, her epilepsy sometimes makes her nervous to go out alone. “I have one or two [seizures] a week, sometimes. A lot of the time I’ll stay at home to make sure I’m not having them out in public,” she told Stuff.co.nz.
However, she doesn’t let the condition control her life. “At the same time, I don’t want to just sit around doing nothing, so I do take myself off on my own and do things,” she explained.
And it was on one of her recent outings that Strain unfortunately suffered a seizure. She had gone for a bike ride along a path by the sea. Midway through, however, she recognized the familiar feeling of an epileptic fit starting.
She knew that she only had a limited amount of time to prepare before it struck. Strain consequently locked her bike to a bench, and then a seizure took hold of her.
After the fit had run its course, Strain began to recover. But it was at this point that she realized something terrible had happened, and it was a revelation that left her in a state of disbelief.
Strain had had her backpack with her prior to the seizure coming on. But when she regained her senses, the bag was gone. Someone had taken it. What’s more, her helmet, medical ID and bank cards had also been stolen.
She subsequently had another fit upon returning to the safety of her home. But after recovering, she decided to turn to social media. And her message wasn’t really one of anger; it was merely a plea.
Indeed, Strain simply asked her Facebook friends to keep a look out for her backpack and described its contents. And you can probably imagine what the reaction to her post was like.
The online community was horrified that someone would take advantage of a defenseless woman having an epileptic fit. As a result, comments flooded in, all of them expressing dismay at the situation that Strain found herself in.
“What has the world come to, that is so wrong,” one friend wrote. “What scumbags, lowest of the low,” another commented. Some people were disgusted that whoever had stolen the bag had also failed to call an ambulance for Strain.
Unsurprisingly, Strain’s shocking story started to gather momentum online. So much so, in fact, that she was contacted by a woman who thought she might have found the backpack. What’s more, she admitted that she’d discovered it in her sons’ room.
Stuff.co.nz reported that the mother was “mortified” by her 13- and 14-year-old sons’ actions. And the woman subsequently invited Strain over to her house in order to give the backpack back to her.
However, when Strain arrived there were two other people present – the teenage sons who had stolen the bag. So Strain actually got to meet the culprits in the flesh, and the full story behind the theft came out during the meeting.
“Apparently, the elder brother had dared the younger one [to take it]. They’d both come across me, were sh**t scared and didn’t know what to do. So they just grabbed the bag and ran,” Strain recalled.
And a very forgiving Strain had a genius idea for the way in which the boys should make amends. First, she got the teenagers to pay for the replacement of her credit cards. But then she had another, even better, request.
Strain suggested that the boys both enroll on a first aid course. She wanted them to do it so that “if they came across somebody in the same situation they’ll be able to do something about it,” she told Stuff.co.nz.
So she clearly doesn’t hold a grudge, having also subsequently referred to the boys as “just kids” and expressed satisfaction that they have “learned a damn lesson” out of the incident. Strain also praised the mom for being “lovely and very, very apologetic.”
Although what these boys did was disgraceful, it’s amazing to see the victim trying to turn the whole experience into something positive for the teenagers and the rest of the community. Kudos goes to their mom, too, for bravely outing her sons and giving them a true life lesson.