As a veteran travel agent and syndicated radio show host, Beaconsfield’s Stephen Pickford has circled the globe safely for decades. However, that all changed over US Thanksgiving Day Weekend when he travelled to Detroit, Michigan to review a hotel, attend a Red Wings game, and have dinner with broadcaster Tom Sumner of WKUF-FM in Flint.
“I stopped for gas at the BP station, I-75 and Seven Mile,” Stephen recounts. “The pumps would not accept a Canadian card, forcing me to go in to the store. On my way in, a fellow jumps out from behind the ice machine, opens his jacket to show he has a gun, says ‘you have a gift for me?’ and grabs and twists my right shoulder. It still throbs. I have been for xrays, an MRI, and go to weekly physio and take Oxycodone for the pain. I gave him $120 as my ID and credit cards were separate and in the car, as was my phone.”
Pickford never went in to the store. Instead, he got into his car shaken and called the police. There was hardly any sympathy on their part. They merely took the report by phone, saying the suspect wasn't present, they were short staffed and they would call if they needed him. That “call” has still not come.
Pickford retained an attorney on a contingency basis to pursue the owners of the gas station where the robbery occurred and the brand franchisor, BP, for their negligence. “Gas stations are the number one location for robberies in Detroit,” Pickford maintains, believing that they deliberately set him up by not taking his card.
You would think that the last place Pickford would ever want to visit again is Detroit. Yet his trauma counsellor has suggested a unique way to recover, while at the same time assist others, by means of a gift project to abet hunger and assist the homeless in the Detroit area. “By helping others, following the path of Jesus Christ, not only will I assist in my trauma recovery, others will also possibly be able to gain a new path towards salvation,” Pickford says.
Pickford is calling upon anyone who has served in the field of corporate travel management at Aladdin or Zagury Travel, people he has been connected to politically, those whom he has worshipped with at church and individuals who have been guests or had their product/service profiled on Travel World Radio to join in, and help in this project.
“Each gift card we buy is $50,.thus if each person were to donate $50 or $100, then one or two indigent persons could eat for a week or more,” he explains. “This will allow them to keep the money they would have spent on food and apply it to one of the nearby low-cost shared accommodations locations....a win/win for the community, a win/win for the destitute who are helped, and a win/win for me to regain my health and excise the demons which took over after the November event in that area.
The GoFund me link is — http://www.gofundme.com/DTWrecovery
Pickford hopes to hit the road in mid-June and to assist as many as 4,000 people during the few weeks that he will stay there. “And by doing this, in partnership with my counsellor, I walk the path towards my own personal recovery,” he says.