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Boy, do I have a story to tell you guys. This happened about two hours ago.

I mailed my onshore 820 application on Feb. 13th, 2013. I had included my credit card details on the payment form. This afternoon at about 3:30pm, I got a phone call from immigration, saying they had my application but were unable to process the credit card as it kept coming back "declined". I was pretty confused by this as there was no balance on the card so it wasn't over the limit, and I had used it plenty of times in Australia without issue. It's a Mastercard from a major Canadian bank that I've even used in China without problems.

Suffice it to say, after triple-checking all the details with him the card still came back declined. He told me that without immediate payment he would have to send my application back, and could I come to the processing centre to use a different form of payment in person. I said no, I couldn't, because I live six hours away from Sydney and don't own a car.

Even more problematic, on Monday 18th my current visa expires. I explained that I needed a bridging visa and he said he could only issue a bridging visa after he processed my payment and started work on my 820 application.

Even MORE problematic, just two hours before his phone call I had transferred the amount of the payment from my Canadian bank account to my Mastercard account in preparation for the visa fee coming out. So now there's the entire amount of the visa payment floating in limbo, somewhere between banks, and it will remain there for two or three days. I had absolutely no way of getting that money to my Australian account before Monday, and he said he couldn't hold my application any longer than Monday, and my current visa was running out on Monday, etc...

So I started marching into town with the wild hopes that I could use my Mastercard to withdraw cash from an ATM and make a money order, and somehow pay through the nose to have it couriered to the processing centre in Sydney. I knew that even if I could use it at an ATM, my withdrawal limit would be well less than $3975.

Then I had the idea to go to the Post Office and see if I could do a money order with the credit card. While standing in line I saw they had prepaid visas that you could load up to $10 000, so I grabbed one. I got up to the counter and explained the situation to the postal worker. She explained that you couldn't do a money order with a credit card, it had to be from a bank account. We tried to do the prepaid visa instead, but when it came time to pay for it.... I could only pay by cash or EFTPOS. No credit card.

Then I felt a tap on the shoulder. Behind me in line was a lovely older man who used to come into the shop where I worked every day for lunch. I hadn't seen him since the shop closed down in October. He jokingly asked if I was holding up the whole post office (which I was) and I said yep, but if I didn't I would probably have to leave the country on Monday. The postal worker came back from double-checking on the acceptable payment, and said there was no way to get money from that Mastercard onto anything.

I knew I was out of options. My brain was racing, I could see my entire future swirling down the toilet, having to leave my partner, somehow pack up my life and find a ticket back to Canada, with no idea how I would even achieve that. I was devastated and sick with shock.

Then, the miracle.

Ken, the lovely older gentleman, whipped out his bank card and told me to let him pay for it, and I could pay him back later. I immediately burst into tears and insisted that it was too much, the visa was $4000 and I couldn't let him do that... but he was even more insistent, and I had the knowledge that I could pay him back because the money actually existed. So he tried to pay for it but his card's daily spending limit wasn't high enough. He said, "Stay here, I'll be back in five minutes."

I stepped aside, sniffling and mopping my face, and sure enough Ken came back in five minutes. He handed me an envelope with $4000 in it and made me count it again, and there I am crying all over again. I wrote down my name and address and contact info and tried to give it to him but he didn't want it, he just said to pay him back whenever I could. He almost left without giving me HIS contact info but I caught him just in time. It was almost like he wasn't really interested in being paid back. He even invited my partner and I to his wedding in March!!

So in the end, I was able to get a preloaded Visa in Australian funds, so I could call immigration back and sort out the payment. By the time I walked home again the Sydney immigration office was closed for the weekend, but I got through to the Melbourne office and explained the situation. They've left a message on my file, and I can call the original agent back first thing Monday morning on his direct phone line to make my payment. And not get kicked out of the country.

If this hadn't happened to me, I wouldn't believe it. It's like one of those dumb "inspirational" stories people post on Facebook that aren't true but you wish they were. What are the chances that Ken, who had four grand to spare on the spot, and was willing to part with it, would be standing behind me in line at the post office at that exact time? A kajillion to one?

I have learned a couple of things. One, don't leave things to the last minute. Two, don't use Canadian credit cards to pay for Australian visas UNLESS you're paying from Canada (I can only assume this was the trouble, as I used this same card to pay for my first WHV two years ago). And three, human beings are capable of amazing acts of generosity and kindness... and you will never see them coming. I owe Ken my future here in Australia with my partner.

Phew. I need a stiff drink and a hot bath.
 

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Wow...I'm totally speechless.

What a kind and an inspirational person Ken is. That's what we called a good samaritan.

Ken set a very good example for us to do the same - be kind and generous to others when they're in need.

Thanks for sharing.

Dave
 

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Kantata
Im intears at this story i feel so happy and sad for you, some one up there is blessing you with an angel called Ken, Oh my what a wonderful person he is and some one you will never forget in your life, his kindness has brought happiness to some one in his life and im sure he will feel good about this. Honour his kindness and pay him back and he will probably be there again for you some day. Absorb this feeling you have right now and remember one good turn deserves another, when some one knocks on your door and ask,s for help do your best. What a wonderful end to a bad start of the day.

Well done and god bless Ken
Louiseb
 
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I remember the movie 'Pay it forward' after reading your really unbelievable experience. Though one can say fate bought you together at that very moment, it is still a miracle. The lump in my throat has not gone while I tap this comment. If only there were more Ken's, this world would be such a better place. Awesome story and thanks for sharing this with us. My wife and I have recently moved to Adelaide and such experiences confirms our belief to have moved down under. :)
 

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Later that evening, I told my housemate and his partner the story of what had happened just before they left the house to go out to dinner together. Ten minutes later, they came back. The girlfriend handed me a bottle of New Zealand champagne and kissed my cheek, saying it was too good a moment to not celebrate.

People talk about how polite and nice Canadians are, but I have never met so many wonderful, caring and generous people as I have in Australia. You're right, adkutz. I applied for this visa because I wanted to stay with my partner, but the people I've met here (and even the people on this forum, who have helped in ways they might not realise) have made me want to stay in Australia for its own sake.

Thank you all for your kind comments. In about a week I'll be able to make a bank deposit for Ken to pay him back. I'll be looking for ways to pay this experience forward as I go on in life, too.
 

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That's us Aussies for u I think we are the friendliest most kindhearted people in the world . I love pay it forward and try to do it wherever I can. Gave away a bunch of furniture recently when I could have sold it for top dollar. I just picked the most deserving who responded to my gumtree add. They couldn't believe their luck and kept trying to give me some money. I told them just pay it forward when u can

Sent from my iPad using Australia
 

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Wow, thanks for sharing the story! I got goosebumps! Such an incredible act of kindness and I'm so happy it will work out for you! :)
 
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