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Kamloops councillor uses kindness to change narrative of out-of-province visitors

Last Updated Sep 4, 2020 at 4:27 pm PDT

FILE -- A radio host from Alberta says his truck was vandalized overnight in Kamloops because he has an Edmonton Oilers sticker. (Courtesty @iamterryevans/Twitter)

A Kamloops councillor is pleading for kindness after vehicles with out-of-province plates were vandalized

Last month, a radio host's truck was vandalized when he was visiting Kamloops from Alberta

Coun. Mike O'Reilly has responded by leaving his business card, with a thank-you note written on the back

KAMLOOPS (NEWS 1130) — One councillor in Kamloops is pleading for kindness over the long weekend as vehicles with out-of-province plates have been vandalized during the pandemic.

Last month, a radio host’s truck was vandalized in Kamloops when he was visiting from Alberta.

Coun. Mike O’Reilly has responded by leaving his business card, with a thank-you note written on the back, on the windshields of vehicles with out-of-town plates.

“And so I took it upon myself to put myself in those people’s shoes and say, ‘Should I be fearful or should I be worried to come to the city of Kamloops or anywhere in British Columbia?'”

He says he would rather be kind.

“Doesn’t matter what your skin colour is or what your licence plate colour is. You should feel safe,” he said.

He’s given out about 100 business cards so far.

“It’s making a positive experience so that people feel comfortable coming back to Kamloops and British Columbia again, again and again,” he said.

O’Reilly believes the gesture has paid off, while it has also shed light on the current situation.

One time he was handing out cards, he says he noticed there was someone sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle he hadn’t seen at first.

“The person had opened their window up just a little bit and right away she was like, ‘You know, my husband works here, we’re supposed to be here. Don’t do anything…’ and it was very defensive,” he says. “It was very eye-opening. It was that fear and concern of that person sitting in their car with Alberta licence plates and I wanted to have a conversation with them. Right away, they went on the defence like they were doing to be attacked.”

He says it’s really about changing the narrative. He hopes people tell others about positive experiences and people will feel safe travelling through Kamloops and the rest of B.C.

READ ALSO: B.C.’s John Horgan to visiting drivers: Change foreign plates to reduce COVID-19 anxiety

B.C. Premier John Horgan previously asked B.C. residents to respectful to those visiting from outside the province, but also suggested changing foreign licence plates to reduce COVID-19 anxiety.

“Be respectful. Keep your distance if you believe that someone is a threat to you, you should keep your distance,” Horgan said.

“With respect to those who have offshore plates and are feeling harassed I would suggest, perhaps, public transit, I would suggest that they get their plates changed, I would suggest they ride a bike.”