On Saturday, December 15, 2012, Rockland resident Nicholas Vachon, 31, was struck by a car on Landry Street near Baseline Road after leaving
a (Christmas) party at Clarence Creek Arena, where he'd been celebrating with his co-workers, about 150 Clarence-Rockland
municipal employees and their guests. You can read our initial coverage here. A funeral was later held for Nick Vachon. Read more...
Earlier on the same day that Nick Vachon was killed, his parents were finishing their Christmas
shopping in Orleans.
In the words of his father Claude, "We stopped at the Regional Shoe Repair Shop to buy our
son Nicholas, the mechanic and firefighter, a pair of work boots. That night, the police came to our door to break
the news that all parents dread. Nicholas was hit by a car and died on Landry Street."
Over the Christmas holiday, “Nick’s gift was under the tree but he wasn’t there,” Claude Vachon
said. “He was with us in our hearts. But it was the first Christmas that Nick was not sitting there with us exchanging
gifts. It was a tough time.”
After the holidays when his father Claude tried to return the boots to the Regional Shoe Repair store in Orleans, the employee refused
to take back the boots, evidently telling the senior Vachon: "Surely you can wear those boots. They should
The incident seemed cold and heartless, and upset the family to the point that Claude Vachon
contacted some news media, including the Canaan Connexion. In his email he wrote:
"We explained to the owner the tough situation we were going through but to no avail. Luc
Simard replied, 'Surely you can wear those boots. They should fit you.' The merchant refused to reimburse our purchase
and offered only that we buy something else in his shop. Here is a merchant who has only one thing in mind and
it's not respect or empathy."
The story was picked up by the Ottawa Citizen with the headline:
"No refund for grieving parents
Shoe store stands by posted policy in refusing family of December accident victim"
Read the story here.
Denis Gratton wrote in his column: "The Harsh reality".
You can read the French column here.
The story was also picked up by blogger Shaun Belding who wrote: "And the award for the
worst customer service of 2013 might have already been won." More...
UPDATE: Store owner offers an apology
(Saturday, January 5, 2013) When the Canaan
Connexion spoke to the Vachon family today we were told that the proprietor of Regional
Shoe repair, Carole Delage, has apologized to the family for the poor way that they were treated by the store employee.
We were told that Delage was most sincere and courageous in offering her apology and that compensation
would be made to the family. However, fallout from the incident was creating problems for Delage and her business.
The store was being bombarded with negative calls and there apparently was even a Facebook page chastising the business.
The Vachons were evidently satisfied with the sincere efforts made by Delage, and were hoping
to quell any further aggravation towards the business.
(Monday, January 7, 2012) The owner of the Orléans
shoe shop offered a tearful apology and a $300 certified cheque to a grieving (Vachon) family... Carolle Delage
said she didn't know that Claude Vachon, a father in mourning, was upset about his treatment when he tried to return
the boots until an article appeared in the Citizen on Saturday. Her husband, Luc Simard, had handled the return
and she believes a "misunderstanding" ensued. Read more...