Pinaymootang man with ‘big heart’ gathers Christmas donations for kids of woman killed in crash

A Pinaymootang First Nation grandfather is hoping to make the holidays a bit brighter for two boys whose mother was recently killed in a car accident. 

Clifford Thompson was a patient at Lakeshore General Hospital in Ashern — about 50 kilometres south of Pinaymootang, in Manitoba’s Interlake region — when Melinda Malcolm and her children, ages two and six, were rushed in on Nov. 6 after a collision.

Melinda and her six-year-old son were taken to Winnipeg with more serious injuries.

Melinda did not survive.

Thompson said he heard Zayne Malcolm-Fleming, Melinda’s two-year-old, in distress at the hospital. 

“I kept thinking about it — that was haunting me, the child’s screams, and wishing that I could do something,” he said.

“As the days wore on, I began to think more and more about those young boys losing their mother, with Christmas coming up.”

Thompson reached out to the boys’ grandmother, Joan Malcolm, who is now their caregiver. He offered help to get them anything they needed.

His daughter, Destiny Thompson, then put out a call on social media to see if anyone else wanted to donate. 

Zayah, 6, and Zayne, 2, are back at home in Ebb and Flow First Nation after the accident. (Submitted by Joan Malcolm)

That led to more offers of help from surrounding communities, with people giving more gifts for Clifford to deliver. 

“That’s not out of character for my dad. He’s pretty generous like that,” said Destiny. 

“He has a big heart and he really cares for little kids.… That experience when he was in the hospital, he was deeply impacted by it.”

On Sunday, Clifford drove to the Malcolms’ home in Ebb and Flow First Nation to drop off snowsuits, winter boots, hats, mitts, toys and other donations he collected.

‘Thank you from the bottom of my shattered heart’

Joan Malcolm says her grandsons are still on the mend from the collision, but are doing well. She has the gifts wrapped and waiting for them to open on Christmas morning. 

Malcolm says she was initially unsure about accepting help from a complete stranger. 

“At first when Clifford had phoned me, I was hesitant, because I didn’t know who he was, and I was scared for my babies,” she said. 

But after learning from a community member that he was a respected elder, she knew she could trust him. 

If everybody could just reach out … even if it’s just a small gesture, it goes a long way.​​​​​​– Clifford Thompson

“When I talked to Clifford I felt just like I was talking to my father. He was a father figure to me.”

Malcolm said she’s grateful for Thompson’s act of kindness.

“I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my shattered heart. God bless them all.” 

Thompson says helping a family in need is something everyone should do. 

“The way I look at it, I know there’s a lot of people who are hurting out there, especially at Christmastime. There are a lot of people without, and a lot of people without their loved ones,” he said.

“If everybody could just reach out … even if it’s just a small gesture, it goes a long way.”

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