$2,000 collected to pay fine of trash truck worker who slapped foul-mouthed girl
A campaign to aid former trash collector Michael Pond - whose brush with a foulmouthed schoolgirl had the whole Island talking - took just two hours to raise the $2,000 needed to pay his fine.
Mr Pond was fined that amount two weeks ago after admitting in Magistrates' Court to slapping a 16-year-old girl he claimed had insulted him on the job. The court heard that Mr Pond, 43, was collecting trash in Hamilton on June 22 when the teenager verbally abused him, reportedly saying “The 'trash truck stinks and you stink”.
Mr Pond admitted to striking the girl after she allegedly insulted his mother.
He has since lost his job with the Corporation of Hamilton.
The Royal Gazette's report of the case prompted heated discussions on our website and Facebook page, with many commenters expressing sympathy for Mr Pond and dismay at the perceived lack of manners among the Island's youth.
“If you mouth off at someone like that calling them names and disrespecting their family then expect the consequences!” wrote one commenter, whose sentiments were echoed by many others.
Mr Pond's case also touched a nerve with community activists Erica Rance-Cariah and Janice Battersbee best known for their involvement with the group 'The Bermudians' who together resolved to take up his cause.
“We were both upset at how the wrong message was being sent to the children of Bermuda,” said Ms Rance-Cariah last night.
“We had both been victims of really nasty behaviour from children when we had tried to correct them, so it was something we had experience with.”
The women decided to hold a collection for Mr Pond on Front Street last Wednesday and were fully subscribed within just two hours. One man alone donated $100, while a group of office workers held a whip-round to contribute a cheque for $250.
Donations were wired from the United States and as far away as Australia after a Facebook campaign spread word of the campaign overseas. Mr Pond, who will receive the money raised for his fine sometime this week, was said to be taken aback by the public's generosity.
“He was kind of overwhelmed that two ladies he didn't even know were willing to do this. He was even more overwhelmed that random strangers would come forward to assist,” said Ms Rance-Cariah.
She added that the pair did not condone Mr Pond's actions, but could see how the girl's behaviour might have caused him to act out of character.
“People have been quietly complaining about the lack of respect some of the younger generation has … you see it everywhere you go,” she said.