Repairman ‘Tricks’ Grandmother Into Accepting Renovated Roof

As a single mother of two children and raising four grandchildren on her own, Jeanette MacDonald had gotten used to a simple life. But one local man wanted MacDonald to have more, and made sure she did.

Why the Owner of a Roof Company Wanted to Help an Elderly Lady

a house with broken windows and creepers
Photo by Kerimli Temkin

MacDonald’s home in Glace Bay was in disrepair: She kept it warm via her wood-burning stove and set out pots to collect droplets when it rained. The beds had no frames and spots in the flooring were missing. All she had to uphold her home was her state pension, which she got because she had to quit her job to take care of her grandchildren.

“You live with what you have, it’s as simple as that,” MacDonald told Saltwire. “That’s what I do. I’m comfortable. People might not like it, but I’m comfortable.”

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Jeremy Locke, the owner of a roofing and construction company noticed the deterioration of MacDonald’s roof when he drove by and vowed to help out if no one else would.

“I had it in my mind that if no one steps up to help this lady in our community, I’d be more than happy to,” said Locke.

The Smart Solution One Man Used to Trick a Grandmother

When Locke asked MacDonald if he could fix the roof that sheltered the four grandchildren that lived with her, she refused his help. She had applied for a grant to have it fixed and was waiting to see if that would come through.

“I don’t like people doing anything for me for nothing,” MacDonald explained.

Instead, MacDonald promised Locke that she would hire him when her grant finally came through.

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But that grant never did. Even so, Locke got to work on MacDonald’s house by employing some well-intentioned deceit.

Locke told MacDonald that a lot of businesses held raffles to give away items or services. In fact, his own company was giving away a free roof, he told her. Finally, he convinced her to participate in the raffle. “Once she agreed, I told her not to worry about it, that she had already won,” said Locke.

The materials were already purchased and his employees agreed to donate their time. “Our whole crew is excited,” said Locke.

How One Man Proved the Importance of Generosity

elderly woman with little girl looking out of the window
Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

The work that would have cost around $9,000 was done for free. MacDonald could not believe Locke’s generosity. “A guardian angel, I’m telling you. There’s nobody out there like him,” said MacDonald.

For Locke, this act of altruism was personal: MacDonald reminded him of his own grandmother who had raised him. All he asked for in return was a home-cooked meal.

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Though she had been tricked into accepting the roof, MacDonald was grateful. “I could win $1 million and it wouldn’t make me as happy as knowing I’m getting a new roof on, Jeremy is really something,” she said.

Locke saw someone in need and knew he had the means to help. He didn’t take no for an answer; he made sure he could change one kind woman’s life. Now, this grandmother and her family have a more comfortable place to live, and that is all thanks to Locke’s generosity.


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lead with generosity

One simple act of generosity can change someone’s life.

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