This past Tuesday morning, 12-year-old Toby Pilley-Main had a plan.
The budding chef, who is home schooled, and his babysitter were going to shop along Commercial Drive for not only his mother’s Christmas present, but also the ingredients to make her special meals to celebrate the holidays.
The pair shopped first at the SuperValu grocery store at Commercial and East First Avenue, and while paying for the food with money he’d received as a gift, Toby placed his wallet on the counter. That was the last time he saw it.
“That’s when I started running around looking for it,” Toby told the Courier during a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. “When I was running around I kept hearing Christmas carols and they were playing ‘I’ll be home for Christmas.’”
Toby’s babysitter was convinced the woman standing behind Toby took the wallet. Toby’s mother, Susan Main, told the Courier the babysitter chased the woman out of the store.
“Our babysitter caught up with her when she was getting on a bus and said if you just give back the bank card she’d forget the rest, but she denied everything and got away on the bus,” said Main.
The wallet — engraved with the words “Call of Duty Rules” — contained the bank card and $50.
“That was all of the money he had,” said Main, a self-employed, single mother who works in social media. “It’s even worse because this is Toby’s first Christmas since his dad died so it’s quite sad.”
Jonathan Tobias Pilley died in May from serious injuries he suffered while mountain biking on Cypress Mountain. He was 43.
Toby was quite happy to share with the Courier the recipes he had planned to make for his mother. Sounding like an accomplished chef, Toby described a brunch including eggs with chorizo sausage, jalapeno havarti cheese and back bacon. Dessert was to have been bread paired with cambozola cheese and a “nice pop.”
Toby had planned to buy the cheese from an Italian shop on the Drive, as well as chorizo from Falconetti’s Sausage Company, but had to scrap that plan once the rest of his cash was stolen. Instead, he made his mother a grilled chicken sandwich with a side of grilled tomatoes. Cooking isn’t Toby’s only hobby. The 12-year-old is also planning to open a photography business with friends.
Toby said he was initially afraid his mother would be mad at him for losing the wallet, but that wasn’t the case.
“My mom’s nice. So now she’s going to loan me the money so I can go out and buy her a Christmas present,” said Toby, who whispered his idea for the gift to the Courier.
Main said she decided to speak to the media in hopes of sending a message to her son that his story was important enough to share.
“I want him to know there are people who care and that they’re not all bad,” said Main.