Kind-hearted Ballynahinch man returns lost bag

Kind-hearted Ballynahinch man returns lost bag

12 February 2020

A GOOD Samaritan from Ballynahinch has been praised for returning a lost handbag to a 94 year-old woman last Friday.

Mark McKay (38) refused to take a penny from Bangor woman Betty Dowds when he drove to her home with the bag in rush-hour traffic amid heavy rain and winds.

Mrs Dowds was overwhelmed to have her bag returned, which had over £100 in cash, her bank cards, house keys and a prized photograph of her late husband in it.

She described getting her possessions back as “a miracle” and lauded Mr McKay as a “true gentleman”.

Mrs Dowds visited Ballynahinch earlier to buy a new coat but in her attempt to retrieve a lost umbrella, her shoulder bag fell off unnoticed.

She explained: “My daughter, Denise, and I had gone to Ballynahinch so I could shop and as we were nearing a shortcut from High Street, the ground was a bit rough and I didn’t want to go over it.

“But I saw a folded umbrella and stopped to bend down to pick it up, thinking I could hand it into the nearest charity shop. That’s when I believe the bag fell down unnoticed.

“We went on to have coffee and went into a few other shops until I realised that I didn’t have my bag. We didn’t know where I lost it and went back to all the places we had been in but it wasn’t there.”

Mrs Dowds returned to her home in a supported living development distraught at losing the bag.

“It wasn’t so much the money, it was losing all the cards and of course the picture of my husband who died four years ago,” she said.

“I was crying with the upset of it but my daughter reassured me, saying nobody has been hurt, nobody has died. My other daughter, Carol, was quick to cancel all my bank cards and anything else that needed it.”

Mrs Dowds was slowly coming to terms with her loss when she received the visit from Mr McKay.

“Mark came to my door with my bag and I couldn’t believe that he had driven to me all the way from Ballynahinch in the bad weather and in rush hour,” said Mrs Dowds.

“He would not take a penny from me in thanks, even to pay for his petrol. Mark told me that he couldn’t have slept the night thinking that I would have been upset and worried about my bag.

“Even the police officer I spoke with afterwards to report my bag being returned was stunned by Mark’s kind gesture and said they rarely ever got bags and purses returned with money still in them.

“It was just a miracle that Mark came out when he did and found my bag and was the kind-hearted person and true gentleman he is.”

Mr McKay, who lives in a flat in High Street, said he spotted the handbag outside his back door as he went to walk his dogs. He brought it inside and immediately contacted the police to see if he could return it as he got Mrs Dowds home address from her driving licence.

“I had to check inside for information and I knew it belong to an older woman and I didn’t hesitate to return it to her as fast as I could,” said Mr McKay, who is currently unemployed and living on benefits.

“I just knew she would be upset and worried. I noticed the photograph of her husband and knew it was special to her. I only did what I would hope someone would do for my family.”