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Man who nearly died gets big surprise from Toronto condo corp

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If you had met 38-year-old Chris Ramlackhan six months ago, he would have told you life was good. He had recently been promoted to a new job, was planning a future with his girlfriend, and was looking forward to moving into a new Scarborough condo he had put a down payment on that was still under construction.

“I had so much going on. I loved my life,” he told Speakers Corner.

But in February, his life threw a major curveball.

“From what I can remember, I started to get a fever and severe headaches,” Ramlackhan said from his hospital bed. “I was rushed to the ICU after not getting better.”

That is all he recalls. He was unconscious after getting to the hospital.

“From what I was told, I had two hours to live. I had somehow contracted a virus which caused sepsis,” he said. “They later explained that it’s a blood infection, but they don’t even know how I got it. It could have been from anything, maybe shaving. They really don’t know.”

While doctors were able to save his life, they had to remove his limbs.

“The blood wasn’t getting to my limbs, so they ended up amputating both legs almost up to my knee. I lost both arms and hands.”

Toronto condo comes through

Ramlackhan remains under care at the hospital, but his life is forever changed. With four limbs amputated, he is not sure if he’ll be able to work and has concerns about affording prosthetics and home care once he gets out.

Complicating matters is a contract he signed when he put a down payment on a condo unit at the K-Square development in Scarborough, owned by Kingdom Development—a condo he has yet to move into or secure a mortgage for.

“We had not yet closed on it, but there are occupancy fees of $3,200 I have been paying monthly plus the more than $90,000 I put down,” he said. “We looked at the contract, and there is no clause to get me out of it despite my current situation.”

But Ramlackhan, now facing more bills as he continues his recovery, needs that money. His family reached out to Speakers Corner, hoping we could look into his case.

Chris Ramlackhan and his mother, Sue, in an undated photo. Courtesy: CityNews submission.

“My son has always been very independent and never asked for help from anyone,” his mother, Sue, said. “This is not someone who will try to find an easy way out. He saved for years for this condo, but now we don’t know what tomorrow holds.”

Several weeks ago, Speakers Corner contacted Kingdom Development. We sent them photos of Chris in his hospital bed, which they had not yet seen, and met with their executive team.

“Immediately after we saw the photo and heard his story, we felt compassionate towards this individual,” said Ali Mehrdana, Vice President of Kingdom Development. “We brought his story up to the ownership to see how we can assist him moving forward.”

Mehrdana said it didn’t take the owner of the company long to do something.

“He didn’t even think for a second and said, ‘Let’s proceed and help this individual by any means possible.’”

Family forever grateful

They not only let Chris out of the contract but also returned the money he put down. Legally, they didn’t have to, but the company says its mission is to put people ahead of profits.

“It was a very unique situation where you have an individual who might not be able to work and cannot pay for what he was contractually obligated to. But we took a step back and said this case is extreme. We have to do something for him.”

Speakers Corner spoke with Ramlackhan shortly after he received the news.

“I looked at my girlfriend and said, ‘Oh, my God, they gave me my deposit back.’ This big weight just came off of my chest. It was this huge relief,” he said. “And it’s all thanks to CityNews for reaching out to the condo. But really, Kingdom Development did something they didn’t have to do. They could have held me to this contract, and legally, I was bound to it, but they actually listened.”

Ramlackhan and his family sent Kingdom Development an email stating their gratitude.

Ali Mehrdana, Vice President of Kingdom Development, during an interview with Speakers Corner. Photo: CityNews.

“Your decision to reverse a down payment has provided significant relief. Your compassion and flexibility are greatly appreciated. We cannot thank you enough for accommodating our situation. God bless you all,” the email read.

Speakers Corner showed that email to Mehrdana, who had yet to see it.

“That’s what life is about. Sure, we are a business, and making money is one side of it, but the humanity of this particular case was much more important and significant than the financial part,” Mehrdana said.

While Chris’ case was extraordinary, it’s not the first time Kingdom Development has helped clients in need. One of their purchasers in the same development where Chris secured a condo had special needs, and Kingdom Development retrofitted their entire condo at no additional cost.

“We spent close to $30,000 without asking any money from that individual,” Mehrdana added.

Kingdom Development, which broke into the Toronto condo market in 2018 with the K-Square building, has plans to build 2,500 more units this year. Mehrdana says cases like this are a testament to how they’re doing things differently.

“It comes from the true interest of the company to be a customer-focused business,” Mehrdana said. “Yes, we have to make money, but not at the cost of someone like Chris, who, to no fault of his own, was hit by this horrible condition.”

“Most times, people would be like, ‘Well, too bad,’” added Ramlackhan. “They didn’t tell me this is your problem, not ours. They came through when I needed it, and I really appreciate what Kingdom did.”

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