A mystery entrepreneur has come forward to settle the $3300 fine faced by a grandmother who forgot to declare a sealed chicken sandwich during a flight from New Zealand to Brisbane. June Armstrong, 77, bought the sandwich before her flight but failed to throw it away before arriving at customs. When confronted by bio-security officers, she was told about the expensive mistake and broke down in tears. Despite efforts to appeal the fine, Armstrong had to pay it within the payment deadline. She has since claimed that the incident has taken a physical and mental toll on her.
In a surprising turn of events, a New Zealand entrepreneur, upon hearing about Armstrong's ordeal, offered to reimburse her for the fine. The Good Samaritan expressed shock at the heavy penalty and provided her bank account details to the New Zealand Herald. Armstrong was touched by the gesture, noting that she never sought to get the money back but felt the situation was unjust and wanted to raise awareness for others.
Armstrong had initially sent the department inquiries about the high fine, questioning why it was so steep for her first infringement. Later, she stated in an email that the fine was dominating her life. The elderly couple considered selling their caravan or giving up their lawn bowls hobby, which costs $220 per year, to cover the fine.
Travellers arriving in Australia are required to declare food items on their incoming passenger card. Although bread products can be brought in for personal consumption, they must not contain meat or uncanned animal products. Failure to declare high biosecurity risk items can result in hefty penalties, with infringement notices increasing to 12 points depending on the risk associated with the goods. However, many have criticized the severity of the penalty in this case.
Thanks to the generosity of the mystery entrepreneur, Armstrong can now breathe a sigh of relief and move on from the incident. The unexpected act of kindness has demonstrated the power of compassion and assisted an elderly woman who had been deeply affected by the consequences of a simple mistake.