OLIVER Simpson’s candy was looted recently, but fortunately, 11-year-old Oliver’s story has a happy ending.
A year ago, Oliver decided to start a business where candy machines were placed inside five pubs around the local area: Candelo, Tathra and Wolumla Pubs, The Three Willows Pambula and the Commercial Hotel in Bega.
Oliver was yet to experience a setback before his machine at the Wolumla Hotel was stolen and found wrecked on Wolumla-Candelo Road.
Jason Simpson, Oliver’s dad, said the family was shocked when they were notified by the finders.
“We didn’t know where it had come from and Oliver went into a bit of a panic because he thought it might have been a personal attack,” he said.
“We had our suspicions that it was probably from the Wolumla Pub but we weren’t sure.
“We had just stocked up the machine so it was worth close to $500 and we were worried about the loss.
“We were a bit disappointed when we had found out what had happened.”
The family’s suspicions were confirmed when Oliver’s machine was tracked to Wolumla Pub where the owner Keith Dimmock was shocked at what had occurred.
“Keith couldn’t believe something like this had happened right under his nose,” Mr Simpson said.
“He really drove the campaign to find out what had happened.
“The biggest disappointment for me was Oliver seeing the bad side of society, but the next day we received plenty of support from all areas.
“Oliver had phone calls from various people saying they would make up for the loss and it was a great example of a rural community working together.”
The Simpson family was also contacted on Sunday by one of the culprits who apologised for his actions.
“There was a bit of money in the back of the machine which they left behind so that made us sure they were after the candy and there was no malice involved,” Mr Simpson said.
“We believe it was just some people being silly and having a laugh on a Friday night by taking it.
“We found out at around 3pm on Saturday and the whole thing was resolved by 3pm on Sunday; that doesn’t happen too often.
“It was really good community spirit on show.”
On Sunday afternoon, Oliver offered some of the money raised to both the finder and pub owner who both politely refused.
However, the Year 6 Candelo Primary School student did make a donation to the bushfire brigade tin at Wolumla Pub.
Oliver said he was grateful for the support he had received.
“I liked how everyone helped out to get the money back because I couldn’t have done it without them,” he said.
“It’s all about giving back because you can later call on the community for support when needed.
“But the lesson I have learnt is to tie the machine down properly next time.”
Mr Simpson said it was crucial for Oliver to get reimbursed for the money lost because the pair is travelling overseas next month.
He said Oliver had been saving rigorously for the trip.
“As part of the trip Oliver had to bring his own spending money to have some fun so he has been in a savings plan for a long time now,” Mr Simpson said.
“Oliver has been running the business for a year and never had a problem until now but we’re glad there was a happy ending.”