‘Perfect fit’: Halifax woman unknowingly buys used roller skates she owned 40 years ago

At the age of 60, Renée Forrestall wanted to get back into roller-skating.

It had been more than 40 years since she put on a pair of skates. The Halifax resident thought returning to the activity would be a fun way to exercise.

She bought new skates and practised for a week, but they didn’t feel right. They didn’t feel like the ones she had as a teenager.

She began searching online classified sites for something similar to her vintage boots.

Renée Forestall saw an online ad for a used pair of roller skates that looked like the ones she had as a teenager. To her surprise, she learned they were the skates she owned 40 years ago. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

A man in Dartmouth had just posted an identical pair for $40. No size was mentioned, the skates had no laces in them and they were pretty dirty, Forrestall said.

But there was something about these skates, she thought, and she decided to take a chance. A few days later, she went to the seller’s home to try them on.

“It was like a Cinderella-and-the-slipper moment,” she said. “It was like a perfect fit. I couldn’t believe it.”

What happened next was even harder to believe. As Forrestall was tying up the skates, she flipped back the tongue of one of the boots and saw her name written inside.

“I thought, ‘Who!? How?’ And then I said, ‘This is me! These are mine!'”

Forrestall wrote her name inside the tongue of one of the skates when she was younger. (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

Forrestall was overwhelmed.

“The shock kind of absorbed and I felt tears welling up in my eyes,” she said. “I think because suddenly I was reeled back to my youth … like life flashed before my eyes.”

She recalls selling the roller skates when she was a student at NSCAD.

The experience made her realize you’re never too old to get back into something you love, she said.

Forrestall has been watching instructional videos online to get better and she even found seniors groups who roller-skate. 

“I think the oldest lady I saw was 90 years old.”

That means she has lots of time to practise, she said.

Seller had gut feeling

After responding to the post, Forrestall was worried because she couldn’t get to the seller’s home for a couple of days. She thought someone else might get their first.

The seller, James Bond, is moving and has been selling a lot of possessions online.

He had no plans to hold items for anyone. He wasn’t interested in online money transfers.

When it came to these roller skates, though, Bond said he had a feeling about the woman asking about them.

“There was just something about her messages that stood out to me,” Bond said. He said he’s had many requests to hold items, but this was the only time he agreed.

“It was just a weird gut-feeling that I had,” he said.

James Bond says it ‘blew his mind’ watching Forrestall realize she was buying skates she first owned 40 years ago. (Dylan Jones/CBC)

Watching Forrestall realize she was putting on her old skates is something Bond will never forget, he said.

“It was a really great moment,” he said. “It really filled my heart with a lot of joy to be honest.”

Bond said it’s funny to hear Forrestall say she felt like Cinderella putting on the glass slipper, because he and his girlfriend joked about how this story would make a good Disney movie.

Both of them believe there is something magical about their encounter.

Forrestall says the timing of Bond’s post and her search for a vintage pair of roller skates was ‘crazy.’ (Jeorge Sadi/CBC)

“I like to think that there are no coincidences,” Bond said.

Forrestall agrees. She still can’t understand how well it worked out. She rediscovered her desire to roller-skate, saw the ad online and had a feeling about these dirty skates. 

The timing was perfect. 

Everything culminated into this little moment in time,” she said. “Things come around for a reason.”


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