After loading the car onto a ferry to cross the Sound, we stumbled across Kelly’s Cafe and Espresso in Port Orchard, WA. So far we’ve been able to avoid fast food and chain restaurants in favor of smaller local eateries where we tend to run into some of the best meals. Kelly’s was no exception. Without a doubt, this was the best meal of the trip so far!

Here we met a server who surprised us with his genuine and friendly approach. We told him we were heading to Olympic National Forest to camp for the evening and he gave us some tips on where to go and what to see. It’s amazing how helpful and friendly people are when you stop to communicate for even a minute or two.

Fittingly, the server’s name was Nate. Even more fitting was that he had red hair. The day we left Minnesota, a certain red-headed server in Hawley, MN (also Nate Haugen’s neighbor), gave us $50 to give to a red-headed server.

The combination of a red-headed server whose name was also Nate was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. After writing him a quick note, we handed him our bill with a hefty tip. He didn’t open up the bill immediately and instead thanked us for coming and wished us the best on the rest of our trip. He was on break but didn’t hesitate to continue chatting with us, which can be difficult to find in a person -- focusing on others over self.

We asked for a photo with him, got the shot, and headed out. One of the best feelings was not knowing how he would react when he found what we had included. Project Wildness was initially started with the idea we’d catch as many reactions as we could, but this one felt only natural to let happen as it should. The surprise would happen. And hopefully excitement would follow. That wasn’t ours to decide.

To Cher Nelson… You are an incredible woman and continue to be a supportive neighbor year after year. You made Nate’s day a week ago with your support for this project. Today you made a red-headed Nate’s day in Port Orchard, WA. 

You’re never far from a new neighbor. Sometimes you just have to start the conversation. ‪#‎ProjectWildness‬