Woman seeks stranger who paid for wedding 54 years ago

Mike Krumboltz
The Upbeat

Cake decoration model of a bride and groom (Thinkstock).
Cake decoration model of a bride and groom (Thinkstock).

Nearly 55 years ago, Karel and Tom Nordstrom got married. They were twenty-something students with little money. Wanting to celebrate, the Canadian nationals held a small reception at the Royal Sutton Coldfield Hotel in Birmingham, England.

A few friends attended, enjoying drinks and food. After the reception, the newlyweds went to see about paying, but were told that the costs had already been taken care of thanks to an anonymous stranger who had already left, according to The Province.

Tom died last year at the age of 76. Karel is seeking the help of the Web to track down this mysterious benefactor who, through a simple act of kindness, helped get the couple off on the right foot and inspired her husband.

Karel spoke to The Province about her quest to find the stranger. She says the act had an enormous impact on the couple and their future children. "It really was the start of how we thought and think in this family,” Karel said.

Upon moving to British Columbia, Tom took an active role in the community, volunteering for a variety of organizations. His wife and daughter believe the stranger who picked up the tab was at least partially responsible.

Daughter Juli, 44, spoke to the Birmingham Mail about her late father. “I can’t help but believe that the random act of kindness of an English gentleman impacted on the life of a 22-year-old Canadian student in such a way that it contributed to his development as the dedicated, generous man he became.”

Juli continued:

My parents had many wonderful stories of their time in England and the wonderful, generous people they met there, but none so poignant as the one resulting from that selfless gesture by a man they never actually met. I can’t remember hearing the story for the first time, but I remember hearing it often. Each time he told the story, my father ended up with a tear in his eye. He was a wonderful father, husband and friend. He dedicated his life to ‘giving back’. I hope someone might recall the gentleman whose noble action so inspired my father.

Unfortunately, Karel doesn't know what the good Samaritan looked like or even if he's still alive. But if he's still out there, Karel would love the opportunity to say thanks. She told The Province, "For many years, we would wonder, ‘Why would someone do that?’ We would go through various scenarios ... and there really isn’t an answer. ... We’d certainly like to thank them but also just to say how a small gesture can change a person’s life."