Generous man detained under Mental Health Act

Jim Day, The Guardian
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Daughter claims police arrested her father because he gave away some extra money to strangers

CHARLOTTETOWN - A man reported to have given money away to strangers in Halifax last week was detained by police Thursday in Prince Edward Island under the Mental Health Act, says an RCMP spokeswoman.

Bill MacNamara and June Bond pose for a photo with the their daughters Gabrielle (6 months) and Abigail (3). The couple received two $50 bills and two $5 coins randomly from a stranger.

Sgt. Leanne Butler told The Guardian that police responded to a call for a wellness check at 1:30 p.m. Thursday for a mental health issue.

The officer determined the man should go to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for further assessment. Butler would not comment on what led the officer to make this determination.

The man was brought in to the hospital immediately and remains in the mental health unit.

The man's daughter posted a photo of her father on Facebook to call attention to what she says has been unfair treatment by the hospital and the RCMP.

She said her father was driving home to Charlottetown from Halifax on Thursday after sharing "some extra money'' with people when he was arrested and taken to the hospital where he has been forced to take medication and was not informed of his rights by police.

Butler stresses the man was not arrested but rather detained under the Mental Health Act.

"It's not a criminal issue," says Butler.

His daughter does not see it that way. In a lengthy post on The Guardian's Facebook wall, she wrote, "He did nothing illegal, he was simply helping some people out. Since when did being a nice person make you end up in the hospital?

"They think he is sick and has mental issues but I know he does not," she says in the post.

A Halifax newspaper had earlier reported on the man in question passing out money to people, telling them to "thank God'' and pass the money along if they didn't need it.

June Bond and Bill MacNamara told Metro Halifax how a man walked up to them while they were sitting on their Dartmouth porch on March 18 and handed them two $50 bills and two $5 coins. 

“You hear of random acts of kindness but it’s usually a Tim Horton’s coffee … you don’t get $100,” Bond told the newspaper. “It came at a time that we needed it too.”

The province would not comment specifically on the case but did acknowledge the public's interest in the man's story is high.

Pam Trainor, executive director of acute care wtih mental health and addictions for Health P.E.I., issued a statement on the subject.

"We appreciate the seriousness of this situation and the impact on our patient and their family...however, due to patient confidentiality and privacy, we cannot provide specifics related the patient, why they are under our care or what kind of care they are receiving,'' Trainor said in the statement.

"It is important for the public to understand that patients are admitted to our hospitals, programs and/or health care services because they can benefit from the care that we provide. A patient is always admitted at the clinical recommendation of a physician who has met with and assessed the patient to determine the most appropriate medical care to help that patient. In the case of mental health patients who may be admitted involuntarily (as they were assessed by two physicians to be of harm to themselves or others), there is a process, guided by the P.E.I. Mental Health  Act, to contest admission that the patient has a right to pursue."

Trainor adds that staff work hard every day to "provide the best care possible to patients and we remain confident in their ability to do so safely to support patients and their loved ones."

The man's daughter has said the family is looking into legal representation for him.

- with files from Metro Halifax

Organizations: Queen Elizabeth Hospital, RCMP

Geographic location: Charlottetown, Dartmouth

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Recent comments

  • noodle
    March 25, 2014 - 19:29

    If anyone should have a problem with this man giving away money it should be his kid. The fact that she's fine with it speaks volumes about the pathetic way government bodies handled this situation. Not one whining union member public servant can grasp what it means to give to others without complaining about what they might potentially (not actually, but potentially) be giving away for free and with no benefit to themselves. This man isn't crazy - he's a non-union member of the private sector. Thank God for people like him, says those of us who are or have been members of the non-priviledged private sector and who get what it is like to work for barely above minimum wage with no benefits. Crazy is he ? By union/public servant standards: Damn straight he is for caring and worrying about someone other than himself!

    • Callie
      March 27, 2014 - 15:49

      Union/public servant standards????? What's this, I am a member of CUPE and my own views have nothing to do with whether or not I am a union employee. As for this gentleman, I applaud him and his actions do not make him a person who is unstable mentally. Like any non union worker, we also work hard for our money and yes, like this man there are those of us who live the Christian life- to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and we are all our brother/sister's keeper and give to those in need, so PLEASE do NOT state your option by vilianizing a group of the working class.

    • Callie
      March 27, 2014 - 15:50

      Union/public servant standards????? What's this, I am a member of CUPE and my own views have nothing to do with whether or not I am a union employee. As for this gentleman, I applaud him and his actions do not make him a person who is unstable mentally. Like any non union worker, we also work hard for our money and yes, like this man there are those of us who live the Christian life- to do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and we are all our brother/sister's keeper and give to those in need, so PLEASE do NOT state your option by vilianizing a group of the working class.

  • brett petracek
    March 25, 2014 - 14:27

    Sounds like he should of been arrested for making fake money. From the article: " two $5 coins"

  • Doug. P
    March 25, 2014 - 10:10

    The police officers and their Chief should be in the unemployment line immediately. To take a random act of kindness and meet it with the absolute disgraceful actions of these "police officers" is worthy of their own firing. I would be ashamed to be these law enforcement officers and have them representing my community.

  • Yoda
    March 25, 2014 - 09:42

    If this gets posted twice I'm sorry but having a difficult time getting any comments submitted to the ADN lately.....website is freezing and kicking me out! This is sad tale that shows just how far the human society has fallen! I just read this story on facebook recently and now that I see it here I need to comment. A man befriends others by giving them a token of his caring, which in this case happened to be money, and immediately someone thinks he is mentally incapacitated! It is becoming all too clear that in today’s society money has become the root of all evil and the engine by way of which we think! We have the Bernie Madoffs, the Corporate CEO’s and the crooked politicians all scamming every dime they can get from someone else. As soon as someone gives freely of themselves these people and the laws of the land think there must be something wrong. This man’s daughter obviously has no qualms with him giving away a few bucks to others so why should the police. Oh wait, to protect our politicians has this man paid the proper amount taxes on it, or maybe he should have given it to some unscrupulous investor/banker to look after for him, or better yet maybe he should have simply sent the extra windfall to one of our glorious senators and offered it to them first to help cover their modest living and travelling expenses. Now I suspect if he had done any of these that he would be never have been picked up, secured and evaluated away for HIS own safety! Again it’s so sad but so true that it’s become a “strange strange world we live in Master Jack”! “No hard feelings if I never come back”!