Every Every morning around 8 a.m., Rosemary Blomeyer emerges from her basement suite in a Mount Pleasant home, tapping her umbrella along the driveway and sidewalk as she navigates her way to the residential street corner.
There, Ms. Blomeyer, a visually impaired German immigrant in her 80s, listens for the footsteps of passersby, flagging them down when they are near. Sometimes, this takes just a minute or two; other times, much longer.
At 8:20 a.m. on a frosty December day, a woman on her way to work hurries by Ms. Blomeyer, her brisk pace typical during the frenetic, morning rush. But then, she stops and turns around.
“I am blind,” Ms. Blomeyer tells her. “Could you please walk me to Cambie [Street] and 13th [Avenue]?”
The would-be passerby, a woman named Jean Collette, obliges. Ms. Blomeyer takes her arm and the two walk, slowly and carefully along the icy sidewalks, to the White Spot restaurant where Ms. Blomeyer has breakfast every morning.
This act of kindness has happened at least twice a day – once on the way to the restaurant and once back home – every day since Ms. Blomeyer’s deteriorating eyesight completely gave out more than a year ago. That’s roughly 60 strangers per month, though there are many repeat volunteers.
It is a charming occurrence in a city where residents recently listed social isolation as their most pressing concern, over poverty, homelessness or any other social ill. An oft-referenced survey conducted by the community-based Vancouver Foundation released last year found residents feel it is difficult to make new friends in Metro Vancouver and are worried about the growing sense of disconnection.
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