Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Kind stranger gives Swift tix to fraud victims

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Quentin Raval, Ray Bernier and Roxanne Lacroix with a photo of the trio outside Saturday's Taylor Swift concert.

JOHN WOODS / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Quentin Raval, Ray Bernier and Roxanne Lacroix with a photo of the trio outside Saturday's Taylor Swift concert. Photo Store

FOR Taylor Swift fan Roxanne Lacroix, seeing Saturday's concert at Investors Group Field was right out of one of her idol's lyrics: Today Was a Fairy Tale.

After all, Lacroix and her boyfriend had arrived giddy to witness the 22-year-old songstress in real life, only to discover the tickets they'd purchased (for $135 apiece) on Kijiji were bogus.

"I couldn't help my tears," said the 19-year-old Lacroix.

Then along came a grey-haired stranger who asked the boyfriend, Quentin Raval, "She really wanted a ticket, eh?"

The man offered Lacroix a ticket, but the young couple declined.

"So he takes his wallet out and said, 'I have two,' " Lacroix said. "We were so shocked. It was amazing. I was crying of happiness."

The couple offered the man $40, all the money they had between them.

Lacroix got the man's first name, Raymond, and the three had their picture taken together. The older man left and the couple went inside the stadium to see Swift.

Only then did Lacroix realize she never got the man's last name. So after the concert she and her aunt posted the act of generosity (and photo) on Facebook -- asking if anyone knew the man in the picture.

That's when Raymond Bernier's daughter phoned him on Sunday night.

Bernier, a 65-year-old caretaker, had bought the two tickets from his boss. He'd been a fan of Swift for several years. He'd even met Swift several years ago at the Children's Hospital, where she was interviewed for a radio telethon.

Bernier said he wasn't so much interested in attending Saturday's concert as somehow getting his picture taken with Swift -- something he neglected to do at the hospital years before.

"But the feeling of joy that came out of that had me in tears on the bus all the way home," Bernier said. "I couldn't help it. It felt so good.

"Believe it or not, it was the joy of seeing their faces lit up. That's why I did it. And that's the payback."

Still, Bernier admitted he had a "selfish reason" for agreeing to be interviewed as Lacroix's ticket benefactor.

"I've always avoided the spotlight," he said. "I'm so uncomfortable being at the centre of attention. I'm going to bawl my eyes out. My dad was like that, too. Emotional stuff. But I have a selfish reason. I didn't get my picture with Taylor."

But isn't that too late now?

Bernier smiled: "You never know with social media these days."

Buying tickets to sports events or concerts through sources such as Kijiji has stung others before. In Winnipeg, Jets fans have ended up heartbroken -- and poorer -- after finding out their expensive game tickets were bogus.

Last winter, a spokesman for Phonebusters, the Canadian anti-fraud centre managed by the Ontario Provincial Police, RCMP and the federal Competition Bureau, offered a warning after one fan was allegedly victimized in his attempt to attend a Jets game.

 

-- staff

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 26, 2013 B1

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