No, this isn’t a food blog.
There have been numerous topics that I’ve considered using to represent my more serious return to using my blog as a way to key the rest of the world into my life and everything that goes on it, but the story I have to share with you from earlier tonight easily takes the cake…or takes the ice cream, should I say? Bear with me. This story might not make you as happy as it makes me…but check it out.
Two weeks ago, I was packing and taping closed my final boxes at my home in Blacksburg. That townhouse has been soooo, so good to me over the years, and it’s been the home where I have so many memories. Not only were there a lot of memories…but there was a lot stuff! Realizing how much I had, I repeatedly had to ask for the help of those around me to make my move successful. There was no way I would be able to transport the things in my bedroom, my attic, my two bathrooms, kitchen, and living room on my own. It was going to take a team of people. That’s where community comes in.
Most people know that my truest representation of community in the New River Valley can be found in the time that I’ve spent at Harding Avenue Elementary School. I began working with those first grade students in Ms. Day’s and Ms. Earles’ class when I was a freshman; the year was 2008. In 2008, in that class was a student named (let’s call him) Jordan. I worked with Jordan for that year and our bond became quite exceptional. I would always see him in the lunch room in the years following becuase I would always continue to work with first grade as he worked his way through 2nd, 3rd, 4th, …
When Jordan was in 5th grade, his little brother, (let’s call him) Caymen became a first grader. That was this past fall. While I was there, Caymen and I quickly became even better friends than we had just based on the random contacts we had prior to me being a formal volunteer in his classroom.
Over the course of the next few months, the boys’ mom and I became friends on Facebook got to know each other better, too. Their mom also sponsors the senior class at the local high school, and also teaches social studies there.
Now that you have the context of how I’ve come to know this amazing family (+ their dad Adam), let me share main story. Stick with it, friends.
- Square 1: as you now know, I volunteered at HAE from 2008 – 2014. Jordan was the bomb.com.
- The kids in the HAE’s 5th grade asked me to come speak at their graduation in June of 2013.
- The mom, Amy, was in the crowed because Adam graduated that year.
- After graduation, she asked, “how would you like to do something like this at the high school next year?”
- Of course I was like OMG YES I would love to do that.
- In the spring of 2014, Amy’s senior class president e-mails me to invite me to come speak at their high school graduation.
- Of course I was like OMG YES I would love to do that again.
- After a successful speech to the senior class, they thanked me with a wonderful gift that may or may not have to do with a dining establishment.
- THEY KNOW HOW MUCH OF A FOODIE I AM!
- After graduation, I needed people to help me move.
- So, once in Fredericksburg, I request the help of my brother from another mother, Billy.
- Billy and I decide we will go to Outback Steakhouse after we unload the UHAUL to celibate me being back in Fredericksburg; my treat as way of saying thank you. I wanted to pay forward those gift cards in some way.
- Dinner gets delayed becuase the UHAUL station closes earlier than we thought, basically.
- Dinner gets delayed again because I got back from another engagement too late on Sunday.
- Dinner almost gets delayed again because I can’t find my wallet prior to leaving the house but luckily I find it and am 20 minutes late to dinner.
- Billy and I get dinner…it’s great.
- The Outback Steakhouse team comes out to sing Happy Birthday to a beautiful little girl having dinner with 2 adults who appear to be her parents.
- Billy and I start thinking…geeze…we’d love some dessert.
- We eventually decide meh…we don’t need it. Five minutes or so pass…
- We look up and there’s suddenly a woman standing next to our table…
- “Gentlemen, we got this but we aren’t going to eat it. I’m on a diet, and we just can’t have it so…would you like it?” (I think to myself: FREE DESSERT!?!?)
- We reply immediately…of COURSE!!!!
- Before the woman walks away back to her table, I take a green AC4P wristband off of my keychain, hand it to her, and explain the movement.
- She says I’m going to give this to my daughter so that she can pay it forward!
- As they finish dinner, the young lady comes over to our table to say thank you for the wristband.
- And we tell her Happy Birthday.
TL:DR…the likelihood of us meeting in that fortunate spot; a spot where not only was I elated to pay forward a wristband but I was ecstatic to see such wonderful caring, Ut Prosim minded action even as I’ve been sad about not being in Blacksburg anymore; would have been severely less if any of the above bullets weren’t true. Had I not volunteered at HAE, had I not had such an amazing best friend/brother in Billy, had dinner plans not been canceled and shifted so many times…I could go on.