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Stone from New York now inspiring in Pictou County

This stone was found by Shunda MacInnis in Ontario. She brought it and its mission home to Pictou County.
This stone was found by Shunda MacInnis in Ontario. She brought it and its mission home to Pictou County. - Submitted

If you see a painted stone randomly sitting somewhere in Pictou County, you might want to pick it up.

It’s not just trivial art. It’s part of something bigger.

Scotsburn resident Shunda MacInnis was visiting Ontario recently when she found a beautifully painted stone on a bench near a bus stop in Niagara Falls.

“It was a flat stone easily held in your hand, with some pretty leaves painted on one side. I have heard of people leaving small gifts out for others to find as a Random Act of Kindness,” she said. “I thought it was a lovely thing to do, and I was really pleased to find it.”

On the back was a request for the finder to post a picture on Regan’s Acts of Kindness on Facebook. MacInnis didn’t have time to do it straightaway but later checked it out and learned why the stones were being left for people. What she discovered was the story traces its roots to Syracuse, New York, and a tragedy that occurred there in January 2017.

“I have to say, it broke my heart, at the same time as it gave my heart a lift. The rocks are painted by a lady who lost her little three-year-old daughter Regan in a tragic accident,” MacInnis said.

According to news reports, Mark Shetsky was dropping his three-year-old off for child care, when she was struck and killed by a car in the parking lot. She had been holding her father’s hand at the time. His leg was broken and he was badly injured. The entire family was devastated.

“Leaving the rocks for others to find is a way that little Regan and her smile are remembered,” MacInnis said. “The various posts suggest you can keep the rock, or leave it for someone else to find, thereby continuing to spread Regan’s smile. They also encourage you to do other Random Acts of Kindness, if you wish, to put a smile on someone else’s face.”

Sometimes other people paint rocks of their own and add to the stones being left behind for others to find.

“The one I found I was painted by Regan’s mom. I thought it was a pretty special thing to find.”

While she could have left the stone in Niagara Falls, MacInnis opted instead to bring it home to Pictou County.

“Folks here are very empathetic, and are amazing supporters of good causes,” she said. “So, I will soon be leaving it somewhere for someone here to find and hopefully the finder will continue to pass it along to share Regan’s smile and to encourage some Random Acts of Kindness of their own. I don’t quite know where I’m going to leave it, though. I think I’m just going to carry it with me until I see the right spot.”

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