Is it too late now to say sorry? How about pay you back?
On Sunday, about 1,500 Americans washed ashore in Canada during an event blown off course on the St. Clair River. Participants had been riding dinghies, inner tubes and other floatation devices on the US side of the river, as part of the annual Port Huron Float Down.
Hit with sudden rain and winds, the Americans veered off course to Sarnia, Ontario.
Canadian authorities quickly came to the rescue, plucking people out of the water when their floatation devices deflated.
But the rescue came at a price.
Combining Sarnia’s police resources, overtime, transit, rescue and clean-up costs, the total came to $8,181.77 CAD ($6,335 USD)– which the city will have to foot.
Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley didn’t sound exactly charmed by what he called the “over-refreshed” American visitors. Some of them were chanting “USA, USA” as they washed ashore, he told the Canadian Press.
The Americans boarded 10 city buses back to the U.S. border.
Bradley said it was the right call for the city to drive the stranded Americans home. “In many cases, they had no money and they had no identification,” he told the CBC. He said he supported the float down, but wanted it to be safer.
Americans left a mess behind in Sarnia, leaving the city’s Parks and Recreation staff to clean up floating debris, beer cans, coolers, rafts and even picnic tables, according to the Canadian media.
Although the Port Huron Float Down doesn’t have an official organizer, its Facebook page expressed “regret that some garbage was left behind, whether erroneously or intentionally.”
T-shirts popped up to mark the accidental Canadian invasion with slogans like: “Sarnia: The Best Designated Driver Port Huron Could Ask For.” Another read: “Port Huron Float Down” with a stamp over it that read: “Election Rehearsal.”
One man unaffiliated with the event started a GoFundMe campaign that vows to pay Sarnia back.
“I’m not related to Canada eh… But they deserve to be reimbursed,” wrote the campaign creator, Joe Wiedenbeck. The campaign had raised a little over $3,000 as of Thursday morning.
Wiedenbeck asked the float down participants to donate $5.
“I feel like, since all these people ended up in Canada, and Canada had to incur the cost to haul everybody back, then maybe everybody should step up and cover the cost,” he told the CBC.