Oh, the people you’ll meet…
Foreword: It’s been a while since my last post, and I was starting to become frustrated with the fact that my lack of inspiration was making it difficult for me to maintain my goal of writing every couple of days. I was looking anywhere and everywhere for something to write about. And a couple of times I started things, but they seemed too forced and simply didn’t work. Finally, though, I have something worth writing about. The funny thing is, I didn’t plan for it at all. In fact, I didn’t even see it coming. I guess that just goes to show that, more often than not, it’s no use looking for inspiration because, when you stop looking, inspiration finds you.
When you spend your summers working at a Subway in a small, Midwestern town, you expect that most days will be unremarkable. And, as it turns out, most days do not disappoint. But every once in a while, something happens and one of those unremarkable days suddenly becomes memorable.
So what was it that made Friday, July 23 2010 memorable? Well, in this case it was more of a who. His name his Teddy Herrera, and he’s making his away across the United States…on a bicycle.
It was a pretty normal Friday afternoon when a young guy I didn’t recognize walked up to the Subway counter and asked to speak to the manager. Usually, this means a complaint of some sort, but when I noticed the Subway logo on the t-shirt he was wearing, I realized he wasn’t hear to complain after all. I couldn’t hear the conversation he was having with my manager, but before long she was nodding in agreement and we were making him a sandwich…on the house. Once he sat down, I asked my manager what his story was. Her response was something I never would’ve guessed. It turns out, this guy – Teddy Herrera – is riding his bike across the country to raise awareness for childhood obesity.
Teddy spent the rest of the evening and most of the following day just hanging out in our small-town sub shop, getting to know us and giving us the opportunity to learn more about him. What I heard of his story is amazing, and I can’t wait to read more about it on his blog (http://acrossamericaforchildhoodobesity.wordpress.com/). I could have easily sat and talked to him about his journey for hours, but unfortunately with dishes to wash and sandwiches to make, I was limited only to bits and pieces of information I got while taking my break or spending a little more time than necessary wiping down tables.
Teddy left Sacramento on June 5 and has been biking across the country since then. He told me that he still has most of his journey ahead of him, but he’s already starting to get serious media attention. He’s even scheduled to appear on Good Morning America when he gets to the East coast. I have no doubt that, before long, tons of people will start to recognize him and his cause will get all of the attention it needs and deserves. And once the head honchos at Subway get wind of what he’s been doing, I wouldn’t even be surprised if he became the new face of Subway (like Jared, only much cooler).
Needless to say, I’m really impressed by Teddy’s mission. Childhood obesity is a serious problem, and it’s great that he’s doing something to combat it. More generally, though, Teddy’s story really strikes a chord with me because it’s absolutely amazing to see someone taking action because of something they believe in. It’s easy to vocally support a cause, but to completely dedicate months of your life to it is unbelievable and almost unheard of these days. Even more incredible, though, is knowing that Teddy has been so successful because of the generosity of the people he has come in contact with – people who are willing to give him a meal or a place to sleep. Though, to be honest, I can’t imagine saying “no” to this guy. He is easily one of the nicest people I’ve ever met. He is amazingly upbeat, and after just a few minutes, it’s obvious that he seriously has a heart of gold and the most infectious, positive spirit.
I can’t express how thankful I am that the small town of Quincy, IL happened to fall on Teddy Herrera’s route across the country. He provided me with a reminder that there are still people out there who will take action when they’re passionate about something. And beyond that he showed me that people in general are still truly good at heart.
Best of luck with the rest of your journey, Teddy. And thank you for some much needed inspiration.