When my partner was killed in a street fight last summer, a man approached me about starting a trust fund for our six-year-old son. This man was tall and tanned and wore a natty suit. He was treasurer of an organization dedicated to helping the homeless. He looked like a well-heeled philanthropist. Since it was a homeless person's blow that ended my partner's life, I assumed that was why he was taking an avid interest.
Natty Suit brought my deceased husband's family together for a commemoration on the church steps where the fatal fight occurred. It turned out to be more of a media circus, though, with Natty spouting fabrications to a Citytv news camera about my partner's death and life, things he knew nothing about.
It seemed these fictions were meant to bring attention to the plight of the homeless, and I couldn't turn my back on that cause. So, confused as my partner's family and I were, we let the matter go.
The report that night on City ended with Mark Dailey announcing the number for the trust fund and Nat telling me he'd be in touch to sign the necessary papers at the bank.
Weeks passed without a word from Nat. But I was immersed in the non-stop duties of raising my children single-handedly, plus all that needed to be done as a result of the death - not to mention grieving - so I didn't notice.
One day a neighbour told me he'd tried to make a deposit to the fund but didn't recognize the name attached to it and wanted to hand me his $20 personally instead. I immediately e-mailed Natty.
He sent back a terse reply saying he would meet me at the bank to sign the necessary paperwork after the holiday weekend. I hadn't even been aware that it was a holiday weekend. Suddenly, it was Labour Day.
The long weekend came and went without a call from Nat. I didn't want to seem pushy to someone who was helping me, so I returned my nose to the grindstone.
Next thing I knew, people were doing a countdown of shopping days left till Christmas. I sent Nat another e-mail. When he didn't answer, I went to the homeless organization he worked for. They got back to me to say that Nat had been told to call me to straighten the matter out.
He called, but instead of apologizing or explaining, he said in a haughty tone: "I have heard rumours that you have been trying to get money out of the bank." It got worse from there. He accused me of not getting in touch with him to sign the bank papers.
I ended up hanging up on him and phoning the bank to ask if there was some way I could have the account signed over to me. This is when the bank manager informed me that the account was actually a personal account - Natty Suit's personal account. I could hardly believe my ears.
He told me Nat had cheques on the account, so it couldn't possibly be transferred over.
I called the police. A constable took my report and went back to the station to run a check on Natty Suit.
Word of this scandalous behaviour reached board members of the homeless organization he worked for. They called to tell me they had a cheque waiting for me. No explanation was offered, and at first I didn't respond.
The following week the bank manager called to tell me there was very little money in the account. Unable to reach Natty Suit - he no longer worked at the number provided - the manager was willing to mail me a cheque for the balance and close the account.
It afforded my three children and me a decent Christmas. But the trust fund for my youngest son, which was supposed to "provide that which his father might have provided," to use Nat's words, was a dream come to an end.
I dropped the charges against Nat, grateful for the cheque. But I was surprised that there was no apology to go with it, some acknowledgment that Natty Suit had added sorrow where there was too much already.