Mike Slemko felt like nothing was going his way. His wife had just left him and the internet had been cut off. Because Slemko works in IT, he cannot make money without the internet. He was broke and alone.
Slemko asked an acquaintance, Brice Royer, for help.
Royer had recently dedicated his life (literally) to the “Gift Economy.” He was unemployed and had cancer, yet offered to pay a stranger’s rent for a year. Days earlier Royer was given a van by someone he’d never met, and a place to stay by another. Slemko had been inspired by such generosity and offered to join a team to create a website for that would further facilitate this gift economy.
While Royer and Slemko were talking, Brice asked if Mike was separated. Slemko replied, “Yeah, it just happened yesterday. It was unexpected, she just surprised me and moved out.”
He held back tears as he continued, “I have no money left, it was all put towards helping my wife and step daughter.” Royer asked him what he needed help with. After some hesitation he answered, “When I got up this morning, the internet was turned off…” His ex-wife had left him an unpaid bill of $100
From Victoria, Canada, Royer posted to his new gift economy Facebook group for help. Within 30 minutes, they had raised $105. Then, a stranger called the internet company, himself, and paid the overdue bill, plus more for the next month. Mike was gifted the rest for future payments.
In a Youtube video (see below), Royer made a phone call to Slemko to announce the surprise: “Remember that $128 Internet bill you had? It’s now zero dollars.”
An elated Slemko wrote on Facebook, “Wow. It’s amazing. My son and I are so thankful. I’m confident being a part of the gift economy is why I don’t ever see myself having an anxiety attack ever again, no matter what happens.”
Although Slemko still has debt from his separation, he decided to pay it forward by offering struggling parents caught in the BC teachers strike, a place for their kids to play.
This new community of sincere and kind hearted people continue to make a difference in each others lives. For more information about the gift economy go to: www.gifteconomy.ca
From an article by Emylou Lewis