Updated: Wed Dec. 29 2010 10:33:39 News Staff
Elenor Diaz hugs her children who arrived along with their father on the morning of Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2010 in Montreal.
A Montreal nanny, her husband and children are together again after a tearful reunion at an airport Wednesday, bringing an end to a turbulent week that saw the occasion dashed by a ticket scam and then salvaged by a perfect stranger. Elenor Diaz tried to move her family to Canada from the Philippines on her own dime but the flights were cancelled by a Manila-based travel agency that abruptly shut down, vanished and took the $4,000 she paid.
With the reunion on ice, Good Samaritans from around the world, including a Montreal businessman who paid for new flights, stepped in to restore Diaz’s Christmas wish.
“My whole family and extended family in the Philippines are very thankful for all those people,” Diaz said after the reunion. It was a moment Diaz had been anticipating since she left her husband and three children in her native Philippines in October 1997 to work in Canada and lay the foundation for a new start. Diaz worked three jobs, often as many as 15 hours a day and seven days a week, and saved up to pay for her family’s arrival on Christmas Day.
However, when her husband and children tried to board a plane in the Philippines they were turned away because the tickets were cancelled by the travel agency. Diaz had no way to recover her money. When the story made headlines in Montreal and beyond, people rallied around Diaz and began to offer money and other assistance. Among those touched was Larry Modafferi, who runs a money-wiring service. Modafferi was so moved by Diaz’s misfortune that he paid for the flights, allowing her husband and children – two sons and one daughter – to fly to Vancouver on Tuesday and on to Montreal on Wednesday.
The reunion at Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport was filled with tears, hugs and wide smiles in front of reporters and cameras. Moments later, Diaz was so astonished she was almost at a loss for words while speaking to CTV’s Canada AM. She thanked people for their kindness and prayers.
“To all of you Canadians, I am so grateful and proud that me and my family (are) apart of this country,” said Diaz, her arms wrapped around one of her sons. “May God bless you, Canada. I am very proud to be a Canadian.” The Diaz family was joined at the airport by Lissa Matyas, who employs Elenor as a nanny to her 18-month-old son Keenan. Matyas was the person who contacted local media and began collecting small donations because she was devastated by Diaz’s situation. “I just thought how on Earth could this happen in this world? How could somebody be so cruel on Christmas?” Matyas said.
Matyas said the story was reported on the Internet and around the world, resulting in the family being flooded with donations of money, clothes and furniture. “Everybody seems to have rallied to support Elenor and her family and it’s just so heartwarming because Elenor is the most kind, generous person you could ever meet,” Matyas said. “She’s always doing things for other people.” Diaz’s husband, Nilo, even received a job offer before stepping foot on Canadian soil.
“We are very thankful, especially (to) all of you here, all the people who help us,” Nilo Diaz said. To prepare her family for their first cold, snowy winter, Elenor Diaz brought winter jackets, tuques and gloves to the airport for her husband and children to wear. They bundled up and ventured outside, where Diaz’s youngest son embraced the season by rolling his first snowball. “Snowball,” he said excitedly outside the family’s apartment, where they are living together on a full-time basis for the first time in 13 years. Diaz left to work abroad to financially support her family when her kids were only a few months or years old. She earned enough money in Canada to send her children to school and one to university in the Philippines. Their jackets, which fit tightly, were evidence of how long they’ve been away from their mom.
“(The jackets) are small. Because of long, long years I don’t know their sizes,” Diaz said with a laugh.
With a report from CTV Montreal’s Paul Karwatsky.
Amazing and lovely are the people who stepped up to help mom in her time of need….These are the people whose example we need to follow…..!
doug in Mtl
the lesson of this story is Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever. & also Quick decisions are unsafe decisions. We should think before acting, especially on buying plane tickets. We should also value, love & care about our Families & immigrants because that’s what this country stands for. We also should learn that Filipinos in Canada are not just NANNIES, there are also professionals like what R.C. said, we hope someday we’ll see Filipino-Canadians who are making difference not just on there own family but throughout entire Canadian land.
I apologize for all the readers who have misconstrued my comments. I wholeheartedly agree that Canada is founded by immigrants and this wonderful mosaic of different ethnicities is something special and admired throughout the world. Let this forum be not overrun by bigots and narrow-minded folks. I am glad that freedom of speech is observed and respected in this forum. 😉 Thank you for the tolerance and open-mindedness that you have shown in reading my post. Happy New Year to all, especially the family featured in this news article. Peace!
Although it is true there are professional Filipinos, as mentioned in one comment, but this lady is a real professional in her own way, loving, caring and waiting so long like many immigrants and refugees to be reunited with their loved ones. It is not true that we Canadians, always pay the note; many of these immigrants repay the government and the country for their travelling costs and labor as this lady has done for 13 years. I am glad we could help her as Canadians, and let us not forget, most of us, come from families of immigrants! A nice happy story for a change!
D.S. In P.E.I.
This comment is in response to R.C.’s comment. The news is not stereotyping when reporting the truth. Mrs. Diaz was working as a nanny (that is nothing to be ashamed of). R.C. should realize that many immigrants must work at these types of jobs to get into Canada. We have a family member from the Philippines who is extremely smart and has a university education but, to get into Canada needed to work at a job that it appeared there were not enough Canadians willing to do – cleaning hotel laundry. She did this because of her love for her son. Again, speaking the truth in news reporting is NOT stereotyping, it is telling an accurate story. To the Diaz family “Welcome to Canada”.
Doug in Alberta is absolutely correct. This is the kind of immigrant we want to enourage, who workds hard and contributes. Those opposed to immigration, wake up and smell the coffee.
Doug # BC
My namesake,”Doug in Alberta” has it right.Who would not support a family who immigrates to Canada in this way. doubt we’ll find them lining up for more “free” handouts,or demanding to have more “Charter Rights”.They will get busy earning a living and raising their family. However,the problem of que jumpers,illegal refugees,and a pathetic immingration system remains.If we want people like this to continue to have opportunities to legally immigrate to this once great nation,we will have to plug up the holes that give all refugees a bad name.While we all know it’s not fair,the impact of illegal refugees,que jumpers,criminals,and terrorists continue to plague this country,and remains an unresolved problem.ANd that lingering issue taints the entire process,and sours Canadians attitudes towards most immigrants.Especially when boat loads arrive unannounced,and,for the most part,are unwelcome. Good on those who follow the law,and work with the process.Now,lets’s get busy and send the others packing.We can be VERY generous, and still insist on a legal process.Honest immigrants,we need.Law breakers,not so much. We have enough criminals of our own.
A Travel Agent
It should of been a prepaid anyways. For my understanding, all tickets must be prepaid from Manila to Canada and it is law in the Philippines.Good to hear these good Canadians could help!Welcome to Canada!
Tim in Alberta
This is a great story. I wish all the best for Elenor and her family.
I wish them best of luck in their new home… However, All Canadians must know that there are a lot more 1st-gen and 2nd-gen Filipino-Canadians who live and work as full-pledged and full-time professionals (nurses, engineers, doctors, architects, programmers, analysts, managers, etc.) all across Canada. The stereotype depiction of Filipinos working as nannies, caregivers, and domestic help in Canada by the news media has to stop.
Doug Torrance
‘What goes around comes around’…..a common phrase,..definitely applies to this situation it seems! Encouraging stories like this one need to be seen more!
strange event!! Why not to pay for a pre-payed tickets? Or else why not to send money with a Canadian branch’financial institution there in the Philippines?..both ways you can claim the money here.Was no body there to give advise? $4000CAD is big money there. -I.Marian BUT then Congrats to the Diaz family even though in some point it feels likes it`s Elenor`s & his husbands fault ,anyway we are glad that they are reunited at last & thanks to Larry & to us Canadians, for showing once again that Canada is the best place to be. God bless us all.
Doug in Alberta
Here is a person who has come to Canada and did everything legally, even costing her 15 hr a day 7 days a week to earn money to bring her family to this country, no one came in illegally by land or boat, never asked for a dime from the public or got all this gov. aide that so many so called refugees get. This woman has worked harder than most Canadians have ever thought of doing… so welcome to her family to Canada, they paid a very dear price and these are the type of people our country needs.