'You can't put a price on sentiment': Brandon handyman praised online for selfless work

A handyman in Brandon, Man., is being praised online for his big heart and selfless work.

“I’ve always been a maintenance man,” said Randy Phillips. “I love to fix things and tinker, ever since I was young.”

Phillips offers his minor computer repair services to those in the community that need it, and only charges by donation.

“During the pandemic, it really hit some people,” Phillips said. "And now with the price of gas and the economy the way it is, I just thought, you know, it’s hard for some people to make ends meet.”

Phillips was inspired to start paying it forward after seeing people promoting similar acts of goodwill online.

"There was a lady in Kamloops during the pandemic, during that big toilet paper fiasco where people were hoarding toilet paper and other products, and a lot of seniors couldn’t get out to get their shopping done,” he said. “This girl says, ‘I’m going to go out and do your shopping for you and deliver it for you for free.’ She was even paying for some of the products.”

Phillips was able to help Kimberly Poole, a woman who needed access to the computer of her aunt who had passed away. Poole said she’s been told before that it might not be possible, the data on the computer might be lost, or it would cost several hundred dollars.

“It was the day that my aunt had passed away five years later,” she said. “As I was scrolling through Facebook, I end up seeing a post that mentioned he was working on computers by donation only, and that he could possibly retrieve photos from computer hard drives. When I saw that, I thought it was worth a shot.”

Phillips was not only able to regain access to her computer, but managed to save all of the files stored there as well.

Poole was so appreciative that she wrote a post on the “People of Brandon” Facebook group about her experience and what it meant to her.

“You can’t put a price on sentiment,” she said. “When I was able to go through all of those pictures, it was a relief. I had access to everything that I thought I’d never have access to again.”

The post has since garnered over 450 reacts and comments from friends and other clients of Phillips, praising him for his work and his overall selfless character.

“He doesn’t think that what he’s doing is generous,” said Jen Shymanski, whose partner worked with Phillips previously and they remained friends. “To him, it’s just the magic that is Randy.”

“I was going through some difficult times and was a little low on food. I heard a knock on my door and when I opened it, there was a grocery cart full of food,” said Cheryl Drader, a B.C. resident who was a tenant in a building that Phillips was the handyman of. “I knew it was him because I saw him running away, it was really nice to get that.”

“I’m not a business,” said Phillips. "It’s just something I thought, you know, this is my hobby. If they want to leave a gratuity or whatever, that’s okay. That kudos was enough. When Kimberly posted that, I was very moved.”