Nearly every day, without fail, Gia Tran, 62, can be seen picking up empty cans and bottles from the East Hastings streets in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
She has been doing this for the past 21 years.
“Back when I lived in Vancouver I used to see her down at Granville Island collecting recyclables,” a netizen wrote on Reddit.
“She lives around my neighborhood, seen her picking up empties. I was at the Hastings church’s, she came in with a big bag full of empties,” another shared.
Wow. This woman is AWESOME!Gia Tran collects bottles everyday & donates the funds to the BC Cancer Foundation…staff…
The residents most likely thought Tran was collecting cans and bottles because she’s short of money.
But they were wrong.
Tran does this for a noble and altruistic reason—to help cancer patients by donating the proceeds from the collected cans and bottles.
Gia Tran has been collecting bottles in Vancouver for the past 21 years and giving the proceeds every day to a local charity.www.cbc.ca/1.4852982
Posted by CBC Vancouver on Tuesday, October 9, 2018
After calling it a day, she makes her way to the returns depot to exchange the recyclables for money.
As most bus drivers are reluctant to transport Tran, who’s laden with loads of used cans, she will walk to the returns depot instead.
“I walk. On the bus I only get one bag, not two bags,” Tran told CBC Canada. “I walk, I don’t care.”
Then, Tran will travel 45 minutes to an hour—either on foot or by bus—to the B.C. Cancer Foundation’s office to donate every penny she earned from collecting the cans and bottles.
Tran always wears a bright smile on her face whenever she enters the foundation’s office.
“It’s always the same,” said receptionist Dianne Parker. “She comes in with a big smile and she always says, ‘I love everybody here, and I want to help people.’”
Sarah Roth, chief executive of the foundation, said, “No matter what kind of day you’re having, when Gia comes in, you forget about it and you just focus on her warmth and her laughter and her true benevolence.”
Usually, Tran earns a small sum of money, but however much she earns is worth its weight in gold, for she does this for others.
On Oct. 11, Tran donated $20.
“Today I have $25! I gave $20,” she told CTV News.
“Every day, I give.”
Though it’s just a few dollars, over time, her daily donations have added up to a considerable amount.
Many of you remember Gia – who, for the past 21 years, has been collecting bottles from the streets of Vancouver and…
Staff at B.C. Cancer Foundation traced back records of Tran’s donations over the past 10 years. They found out Tran has contributed around $15,000 for the foundation’s charitable projects, such as cancer research.
“It’s been 21 years and $15,000. That’s remarkable,” Roth said.
Tran has no particular reason why she chose B.C. Cancer Foundation though. She simply gives to make people happy.
“People happy, I’m happy too,” Tran said.
Many of you remember Gia – who, for 21 years, has been collecting bottles from the streets & donating the proceeds daily, always with a beaming smile.
This week, she received an award for her incredible service, raising $15K since 1997. And her smile was brighter than ever. ✨ pic.twitter.com/zViWJHujUU
— BC Cancer Foundation (@bccancerfdn) November 29, 2018
And Tran doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon even though her children often urge her to stay home and take it easy.
“My kids say, ‘Mom, I don’t want you to go outside. It’s too cold,’” she said. “I say: ‘No, I go. I want to help people.’”
Not all heroes wear capes, and Tran is certainly a hero for her selflessness and compassion, which is evident through her more than two decades of altruism.
There is greater joy in giving than in receiving. May this beautiful story of altruism inspire you to give to make a difference to the lives of others.
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