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Fredericton dance studio owners show forgiveness after window vandalized
FREDERICTON -- A Fredericton dance studio was vandalized over the weekend, but instead of getting upset, the owners did something much different.
They chose to react with kindness and compassion -- a choice that's caught on with the businesses around them and warmed hearts in the process.
"For us, it wasn't a big thing," said studio co-owner Brittany O'Sullivan.
It started Saturday morning when they got an unexpected call from police.
"I just kind of came up to the door and it was totally smashed, the glass was all the way down the stairs and all over the front desk," said O'Sullivan.
Police confirm five businesses suffered property damage after an individual hit and kicked doors and windows along a block of Regent Street.
Instead of getting mad, the studio owners chose a different route.
"We thought, OK, this is probably someone who just was upset or had a bad day and didn't know how else to express themselves," said Samantha Shea, a co-owner and dancer at the studio. "So, we just found, I guess, a little bit of compassion, having both experienced mental health struggles ourselves, it's something we're passionate about supporting in the community."
Although they don't know exactly what led to the individual's actions, they decided to make a donation to the Canadian Mental Health Association.
When the business above the dance studio heard what Shea and O'Sullivan had done, they made a donation, too.
"It is the season of love, and you know, that spirit of forgiveness," said Rob Pinnock, the co-owner of Tipsy Muse Café. "We took their lead."
Pinnock says the gesture has caught on.
"We've had a supplier of ours come up to say we'll chip in part of your payment to us, to the cause, so maybe it will snowball a little bit," Pinnock said.
The New Brunswick chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association is thanking the businesses for being "kind" -- saying no matter what was behind the vandalism, these businesses are bringing awareness that everyone has bad days and good days.
"I think mental health plays a big role in what we do every day here, so it was just really reaffirming for us that we're doing the right thing and we're on the right path for our business," said Shea.
O'Sullivan said it's about being the change they want to see.
"I think in any situation when you can choose compassion over anger, that's how you can really start to create change in the community and in the world," O'Sullivan said.
It's a decision that has warmed hearts at what can be a cold and difficult time of the year.