In Raymond, WA, we fueled up the car at the Chevron station. Nate went in to pick up some of his own fuel in the energy drink cooler and met a man named Ky. Quiet at first, Ky opened up immediately after Nate asked him how he was doing.
“Good, good! And you? Are you coming from Seattle?” he asked.
“We drove down from Olympic National Forest, and we’re heading to Portland today.” Nate said. Ky asked where we were from… “Minnesota? Oh, I love Minnesota! Uh, Twin Cities! Yes!” He was a ball of energy! His laugh followed every sentence and came from deep within. It was infectious! Ky studied at a community college in the Twin Cities. After asking Ky where he was from, he told us he was originally from Korea and moved to be near “The Emerald City, so green!” Another belly laugh.
“I love Fargo! You know Fargo?” he asked.
“Fargo? That’s pretty much where we’re from! Fargo!” Nate told him. Both laughed now. This guy was great!
“I love umm… Ice fishing! You know?” Ky pantomimed drilling an ice hole. He dropped the invisible line. Reeled in a fish and popped it back, swallowing it and rubbing his stomach saying “Mmm…” Another belly laugh.
Ky wished us the best of luck and Nate returned to the car where Shane was waiting. Another opportunity we couldn’t pass up; Ky had to be recognized. We wrote him a note and added a gift from Nate’s brother, Luke. He had asked his contribution be given “to anyone who works hard for very little recognition.”
We walked back inside and handed Ky his envelope. He opened it up alongside his young son and the boisterous man fell silent. “Thank you so much.” he said with unmatched sincerity. His deep laugh followed. The two laughed. He re-read the note laughing without end. Ky picked up a hat. “Do you want this? What do you need? You want anything? Anything at all?” Without hesitation he offered to give and give. Nope, we didn’t need anything but a photo. We said our goodbyes in that Chevron station through four of the biggest smiles.
To Luke and Joy… The two of you have served others in your own jobs all your lives. Joy, you were raised to give selflessly and you’ve done just that for your family and countless others. Luke, you’re my brother and a great son, brother, husband, and father all around. As you both continue to serve young people, just know you made the day of a Korean man named Ky and his young son.
Break the ice. You never know what’s underneath. #ProjectWildness