As she approached her 60th birthday, Renée Forrestall reflected on the times in her life that brought her balance. Looking back, she realized a chunk of that came from her days as a teenager roller skating on the waterfront of her neighborhood in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In those earlier days, skating proved to be a welcome balm for Forrestall at a time when she was dealing with the loss of a loved one. Back then, she basked in the solitude the activity provided.
Decades later, these memories inspired Forrestall to get back into the roller rink. Her return to the rink offered an unexpected reunion with her past: an old set of roller skates she’d cherished but sold at a yard sale, and regretted ever since.
In a viral TikTok video that more than one million people have watched, Forrestall documented her story of being reunited with her skates again and re-learning her old hobby.
Forrestall hoped the same activity would bring a sense of balance back into her life as she was starting to become conscious of her body’s age. The new roller dome near her house, just a five-minute drive away, was the icing on the cake.
“Today I just turned 60 For my birthday, I decided to try rollerskating again for the first time in 40 years. I bought a pair and used them for a week. I was disappointed that they weren’t made as well as they used to be. So I decided to look for a vintage pair,” Forrestall explained in the TikTok post.
“I found a pair online that someone posted two hours before. The seller didn’t know what size they were, but they were a great price and looked like the ones I had as a teenager," she said in the post, adding that the seller had turned down other potential offers and held the skates for her for two days. "I noticed they were pretty dirty, but I tried them on and was surprised how perfectly they fit.”
Speaking to TODAY, Forrestall said when she put the skates on, it was like a “Cinderella slipper moment.”
As it turned out, the resemblance between Forrestall’s old and new pair wasn’t just uncanny — they were the same skates.
“I looked inside, and there was my name written in my handwriting,” she told TODAY, adding, “It reeled me right back to my youth.”
Serendipitous coincidences continued to unfold.
The man who sold her the skates, James Bond, lives in nearby Dartmouth. He sold her back her old skates for $40 as part of his mother’s estate sale.
When Bond was leafing through a box of his mother’s old books that he had intended to donate, he pulled out one titled “Roller Disco Dancing” by chance and immediately thought of gifting it to Forrestall. One fortuitous event led to the next, as Bond discovered that the book was from a library that Forrestall worked at around the same time she had sold her skates.
The punch card at the back of the book was dated November 1981, the year she worked at the Dartmouth Regional Library while attending art college. Her school had organized a student yard sale where she eventually sold her skates.
“It was a universal coincidence of some sort,” Forrestall said.
Forrestall’s daughter, 28-year-old- Millie Webb, is a designer and artist who helped compile and upload the unlikely story to TikTok. Like her mother, Webb was surprised to see the number of younger users who connected with the story.
“Everyone has something that brings them back to their childhood,” Webb, 28, told TODAY. For her in particular, the experience has been a lesson on how little people know about their parents.
“In this day and age, there can be some really wonderful things going on on this planet that just pass us by,” Forrestall said.