The story of a Langley man who was beaten and robbed at the Langley City bus loop on Friday night has struck a chord with thousands of people.
Less than two days after The Times wrote about Chris Lafrenier being kicked in the head and the arrest of two teens, $8,445 had been raised on a Gofundme.com account set up for Lafrenier. Included with the donations are heartfelt messages to Lafrenier, some mentioning what a great guy he is
Two strangers each made $1,000 donations.
Lafrenier and his wife, Lauren Blair, are overwhelmed by the generosity.
“It brought tears to us all. God bless all and Merry Christmas,” writes Lafrenier’s mother-in-law Lynn Blair on the Gofundme site.
Numerous people are creating hampers for food for the couple’s two dogs and cat, as well as food and gift cards for them.
On The Times Facebook page, there were more than 48,000 views of his story, and 273 people shared the article with friends, as of Wednesday morning.
Still in his work clothes, Lafrenier, 39, was waiting at the notoriously violent Logan Avenue bus exchange, when two Langley teens attacked him just before midnight.
The pair, aged 15 and 19, punched the rebar worker in the face, breaking his nose, chipping a tooth, causing his eyes to swell and cutting his head.
When he fell to the ground, witnesses said he was kicked repeatedly in the head by the teens.
Police arrived to find Lafrenier face down, not moving and with a pool of blood around his head.
He was only able to open his eyes on Sunday.
He has a brain injury and won’t be able to work for an unknown amount of time. He is the sole income earner for the couple.
With the money raised, the couple plans to pay rent ahead for a few months.
Moved to help, Willoughby Town Centre Dental is offering to fix his broken tooth for free.
Meanwhile, Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer said he has sent Lafrenier’s story to TransLink Police for a response on safety at the bus loop.
“It’s time for TransLink to step up and do some work in Langley, not just having transit police on SkyTrain,” said Schaffer.
The City wanted to put up surveillance cameras at the bus exchange but ran into roadblocks from TransLink and the Privacy Commissioner.
But the new mayor doesn’t believe the City is doing enough at the bus exchange.
“Our police are working very hard and we have bylaw officers on the weekends,” he said.
He is sickened by what happened.
“How can those teenagers live with themselves? Can’t a person go to work and get home safe?” said Schaffer.
Meanwhile, TransLink Police say they are aware of the beating and violence erupting at the City bus loop.
A response on what transit police plan to do is forthcoming, said spokesperson Anne Drennan.