Chris Lafrenier is still overwhelmed by the caring and generosity of strangers who came rushing to help after hearing he had been beaten badly while trying to get home from work.
“I’m just so grateful for the community. Thank you so much. I don’t even know what to say,” said Lafrenier, 39, from his home in south Langley.
Lafrenier said he is feeling “better” and glad to not have ‘raccoon’ eyes anymore.
“My friends were calling me Rocky,” he said. He has a long way to go though. He walks with a limp now and finds he gets exhausted walking just a few blocks. He has brain damage and is finding he is forgetting things all the time.
Lafrenier said the night he was beaten, Friday, Nov. 28, he had missed the last bus out of the Langley City bus loop and was thinking about calling a cab.
“I have used that bus loop a lot and I’ve seen a lot too. It can be a scary spot but I didn’t expect to get jumped,” said Lafrenier. He said he doesn’t know exactly where he was when he was jumped, and doesn’t remember much from that evening. Police found him in the 5500 block of 203 Street.
He remembers a woman saying ‘stop, stop, I’m going to call 911,’ and to her he is so grateful. She has never come forward to him.
“But the rest of that night, I just don’t remember,” he said. “And even now, I keep forgetting everything.”
He was beaten and robbed by two Langley teens, ages 15 and 19. Witnesses told police he was kicked in the head repeatedly by the boys who also kicked him in the kidneys even after he had fallen to the ground.
Police reports say they found him in a pool of his own blood.
He was bleeding from his ears, his tooth was chipped, his face swollen and unrecognizable. The teens took his expensive rebar work equipment and the couple hundred in cash he had in his wallet. But Langley RCMP were quick to react and found the culprits nearby.
Both were held in custody but 19-year-old Matthew Samms was released on $1,000 bail and appears again Jan. 6, 2015. The 15-year-old has been held in custody and was expected to enter a guilty plea in Surrey Provincial Court when he appeared again on Wednesday.
Lafrenier did get his equipment back, not his money, but as the sole breadwinner in the family, the couple had no way to pay rent, feed their two dogs and cat or themselves.
That’s when his mother-in-law Lynn Blair put up a gofundme.com account and within two days, nearly $10,000 was raised. Now the fund is at more than $12,000. The original goal was to raise $5,000.
Food by the shopping cart-full has been delivered to them, both for them and the animals. Cash donations and restaurant gift cards have been dropped off at The Times’ office.
One longtime Langley resident offered to cook them a turkey for Christmas day. He is bringing them the turkey frozen this week. A Willoughby dental office is fixing his chipped tooth for free and many other generous offers have come their way.
He is attempting to try and go back to work on a half-day start, doing light duty in the coming week but isn’t sure how he will do. But for now, his family are grateful to enjoy this Christmas together.