On a hot Oklahoma City day, we found ourselves somberly sipping ice cold drinks waiting for a couple of burgers at The Garage Burgers and Beer. A better part of the morning was spent touring the former site of the Oklahoma City Bombing and current site of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect prior to the memorial and museum. With vague memories of news coverage in our minds faded by over two decades of life we entered the exhibits and traveled back in time to April 19, 1995; the time was 9:01 AM.
Nate put his scrounger skills to the test and scored an excellent deal on the north side of town. The Oak Tree Inn appeared to be just what we needed to rinse off and head to the festival. We approached the check in desk, and a woman at the counter looked up with distressed eyes and an exhausted smile. “How can I help you?” she asked politely. “Just checking in,” Nate replied. From there, we found out the story behind a face that looked so overwhelmed.
We went back to the work at hand – jamming away on our laptop keyboards for a minute when Shane looked up and said, “I think we should recognize her for doing good.” Nate, without hesitation, responded with a simple, but assured, “Yup.” We quickly devised a plan to leave an envelope with a note, some stickers, and a gift on her car while she was in a local shop. As Nate wrote the note, Shane prepped the envelope and assured the waitress we would be right back and that we were not skipping out on our bill.
Instead, we met Ezra. Ezra was half-seated on a ledge only a few steps down from Brickway. His neck and bald head dripped with sweat. He carried nothing more than a grocery bag with a few Styrofoam containers and a small towel he used to wipe away the sweat. As we walked toward him, he looked up and gently asked, “Hey guys. Would you be able to help me out?” We stopped to listen.
Our first ever Live Wildness event was an incredible success! The basic idea was to gather anyone and everyone who wanted to live a day in the life of Project Wildness and spread kindness in their local community. People were split into groups and sent out with one goal - Do Good. The stories that developed and impacts felt were incredible.
All of my aforementioned interests tie into my passion for social progress. I ardently stand for issues like LGBT+ equality, gender equality, and racial equality. To me, these issues are not about the politics– they’re about the people. I believe in building bridges and establishing ties. In order to accomplish either of these things in any circumstance, I believe that we need to educate each other, engage with each other, lead each other, and contribute our individual gifts to our causes.
As we were walking along the 16th street mall we came across a young women with a sign that "Please help". As thats what we were hoping to do with the money I asked of she was okay and if there was anything we could do for her. Naturally she was hesitant to open up but after a little walk and some food we learned that she came out to Denver in hopes of finding a job and to bring her two daughters out here for a new start.
For a second, we could hardly believe Ray’s weathered hands had created such beautiful drawings. Primarily black pen drawings, they expressed an artistic ability very few possess. We flipped through his unfinished work in awe. Immediately we pulled out two and committed ourselves to buying them at any price. “You want that one?” Ray asked. “It’s not quite done, but I can finish it for you.”
Oliver didn’t hesitate to share some of his own selflessness. After handing him the gift card, Oliver said, “You know, this is incredibly generous of you. But I just can’t help thinking that there is probably someone out there who could use this more than me.” He didn’t immediately think of alleviating some of his family’s grocery expenses or buying school supplies, but instead Oliver suggested passing on what he so deserved to someone else.
He continued waving and smiling to car after car on the busy street in front of him. As we approached the boy, he greeted us and offered some lemonade. We looked at the two tagboard signs written (in what we assumed was his handwriting) that read, “Help Gus Get to Williamsport” and “Williamsport or Bust.”
As we floated around the soft curves and gentle hills of the western interstate, Nate pulled off at a rest stop for a quick break. Life has a weird habit of constantly putting us in the right place at the right time even if that place was never part of our plan. As Nate guided Julius into one of the only open parking spots we took notice of a man sitting on a plastic bucket with a cardboard sign that read, “Family of 4, recently laid off. The help I get, I will not take avanage off. Any kind of help will be greatly appriciated. Hopefully I will go back to work soon. Thank you. Bill.”
Nate asked for another cup of lemonade and the girls hurried to fill up his cup. As he pulled out some cash for the girls, he put forward quite a bit extra saying, “Girls, we really hope this can help out your fundraising.” Immediately, Starla’s jaw dropped. “Whoa! Ariana, look! We have to go show my mom!”
He reached out his hand and introduced himself as Richard. “Were you guys up there?” he asked gesturing to the mountains we slept in the previous evening. Shane replied, “Yeah we camped there last night.” Before Shane could even finish his sentence Richard anxiously asked, “Did you see Sasquatch?”
We both looked at the food and water we had on the table and couldn’t help but question ourselves. Whether it was guilt, curiosity, wonder, we couldn’t tell. Perhaps the best description is “eye-opening.”
An honest man. A hard-working man. Just trying to get the basics -- food and water.
Shane’s desire to go to the drive-in wasn’t based on what movie was showing; it was based on an idea he had almost a month prior while driving through Colorado. He had seen an old drive-in movie theater and thought how incredible it would be to go to a movie and buy everyone’s ticket for the movie.