The Rider sweater taken from the front yard of former Rider Al Ford has been returned. This is the story that Rob Vanstone has submitted to the Leader Post.
The year 2011 has begun auspiciously for Alan Ford and his family.
A Saskatchewan Roughriders retro jersey honouring Ford's injured son, Rob, was returned to the family's Hillsdale residence Saturday morning.
The jersey — bearing No. 21 (which Alan Ford wore for the CFL team from 1965 to 1976) and with the word "HOPE'' emblazoned on the back — had disappeared Wednesday afternoon. It was one of eight jerseys that Roughriders president-CEO Jim Hopson presented to the family as a gesture of support for Rob Ford, who has been in a coma since Dec. 8.
Alan Ford had hung his jersey outside the home to pay tribute to his 39-year-old son. As it turned out, the person who took the jersey misunderstood the reason for its presence outside the home.
"At 10:15 this morning our front doorbell rang and a man in his early 30s returned the jersey,'' Alan Ford said via e-mail on Saturday. "He said that he took it because he thought the person in the house had worn it to the last two Grey Cups and had now given up hope for a Rider Grey Cup victory and had put the jersey on the bush for anyone to take.''
Rob Ford is in the Neurological Unit at the General Hospital. He suffered serious head injuries after falling off a ladder while hanging Christmas lights outside his parents' home. One of the No. 21 jerseys is in Rob's hospital room. The other seven jerseys belong to members of his immediate family.
"Hopefully the New Year will bring Rob out of the coma and back to his family,'' Alan Ford concluded.