Like any Bowen Islander, Mike Shannon thinks it’s his civic duty to do a good turn for his fellow islanders. However, when one of his good turns ricocheted and bit him in the backside, he went on a Facebook rant.
He was pleasantly taken aback by what happened next.
Fellow islanders stepped in and, before he knew it, Shannon found himself in the middle of an impromptu restorative justice circle — and a whole lot of rum.
Shannon owns and operates the Bowen Land and Sea Taxi. A couple of nights ago in his off hours, he picked up two teenagers who were hitchhiking to Snug Cove, the hamlet where the ferry from Vancouver berths.
They told him they didn’t have money for the fare but Shannon said not to worry, they didn’t need to pay him. “That’s what we do here in a small town…..we help each other out,” he wrote on Facebook.
Imagine his dismay when he realized that when the teenagers got out of the taxi, they took with them an unopened bottle of rum that Shannon had purchased earlier in the day.
“This really upset me,” he wrote. “Not because of the $30 [for the rum] but because of the fact that this happened here in a community where we rarely even lock our doors and we leave our keys in our vehicles.”
Reaction to his post was swift, in ways expected and unexpected.
The expected (albeit still surprising): “Throughout the day I started getting visits from friends and neighbours bringing me rum!! [My wife] Wendy was even handed a bottle at the grocery store when she stopped in for groceries (also left there anonymously).”
The unexpected: one of the people who read the post thought they knew who the teenagers might be. They offered to contact one of their fathers.
“The kid’s father calls me and tells me that his son confessed to taking the rum,” Shannon told everyone on the closed Bowen Island and Everything Else Facebook page the next day. (The Courier has the permission of the people involved to retell the story.) “We had a really nice chat and I really felt how bad he feels. As I am a father also, we talked about how to deal with it etc. All the time I’m thinking to myself, ‘Would this conversation be happening in the City in this calm and constructive manner?’”
Here’s where the story does become an only-on-Bowen head-shaker.
Half an hour after he talked with the father, his taxi service got a call to pick up some passengers at the library.
“When I arrived at the library…….GUESS WHO!….. a couple of sheepish looking kids. They apologized, told me it was a dumb move and offered to come chop my firewood or do hard labour. “ (Insert winking smiley face here.)
The teenagers also handed Shannon back his still unopened bottle of Captain Morgan rum. Shannon laughs at the thought of how Captain Morgan, a Welsh privateer who raided posts in the Caribbean, would feel about these taxi pirates with a conscience.
“Well, all in all, I feel good,” Shannon wrote at the conclusion of his post. “I love how our community was as upset as myself that this even happened in the first place. I’m impressed at how our community came together and helped towards making things right. And lastly I’m offering the whole Island a RUM AND COKE!!…….because frankly if I drink all this rum there’s going to be problems.”