Many Canadians have been sharing memories and stories in the wake of Gord Downie’s death Tuesday night.
For most, the impact of Downie’s music as lead singer of The Tragically Hip is what stands out. But for Cody Kuchirka, Downie’s legacy is more personal.
Kuchirka now spends about six months of the year living in Saskatoon. Ten years ago, he was living homeless on the streets of Toronto.
In an interview with C95’s Shauna Foster, Kuckirka said he still remembers a man approaching him as he sat out in the cold one night in the middle of winter.
“This guy comes up to me and he’s like, ‘Hey, would you like a coffee?’”
Kuchirka said he and the man sat and chatted for a bit, with the stranger then offering him a meal.
“He treated me like a human when most people would just pass me by, try to ignore me.”
Then, Kuchirka said the man asked him if he was a Tragically Hip fan, and gave him tickets to the band’s show.
Kuchirka said he and his girlfriend got quite the surprise after they arrived at the concert.
“All of a sudden, the guy who gave me the tickets and the food and the coffee goes on stage and starts singing for the Tragically Hip.”
Kuchirka said Downie did something even better than provide a full stomach and evening of entertainment.
After the show, Downie connected him with a friend of his who ran a construction company. That connection led to a job that helped Kuchirka turn his life around.
Kuchirka said the news of Downie’s death caused him to reflect on that night.
“It blew me away that it was actually Gord Downie who took time out of his life to sit down and get to know who I am,” he said.
Kuchirka said he’ll always be thankful for the chance meeting with a Canadian rock legend.
“This is a person who changed my life forever and he’ll be missed.”