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.
“Kindness is key” is the crux of the message a councillor from #KamloopsBC is trying to share. @mikeoreilly2018 placed his 100th biz card w/a thank-you note on the windshield of out-of-town vehicles visiting his city. He’s hopes people will be considerate this long weekend.
— Ria Renouf (@riarenouf) September 4, 2020
“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.
30 days ago someone with an Alberta license plate had their window broken in #kamloops. Today I dropped off my 100th business card on a car windshield with out of province plates. This long weekend be kind. #kooltoobekind #ChangeTheNarrative pic.twitter.com/ehn7ndRUu5
— Mike O’Reilly (@mikeoreilly2018) September 4, 2020
“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.
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.”