Throughout most of our journey in the Southern United States, we were met with unusually high temperatures and high humidity. Today was no different. We set out from Augusta, GA for our travels through South Carolina, and finally into Charlotte, NC. Renata, Jason’s girlfriend, had joined the tour in Daytona Beach, Fl, and today would be her last day with us. What a pleasure to have her along!We weaved our way through South Carolina, along beautiful countryside and quaint sleepy little towns. By the time we stopped for lunch at the Bi-Lo Market, the heat & humidity of the day had started to take its toll on all of us, mentally, physically & emotionally, as we waited for the rig to catch up. After lunch on the rig, we continued on to Charlotte, arriving later that afternoon, tired, hot & sweaty. Not feeling very motivated, a group of us ventured across the street from the hotel to Carolina prime steakhouse for dinner. We were greeted by Summer, our server, a nice young gal who was friendly, attentive and, most importantly, laughed at our jokes. Toward the end of our meal, she asked where we all were from. “Vancouver, Phoenix,” we said. “Y’all are travelers,” she replied. “You know why we are here?” I asked, and pointed to the Answer for Cancer Tour shirts Del & I were wearing. She leaned down to read our logo, and said “oh my God, I think I’m going to cry. My father-in-law passed away from colon cancer this morning.” As we sat in stunned silence, she proceeded to tell us about her father-in-law. Through her tears, she recalled his strength and courage. He was a strong man, she said, a Marine, 52 years old. She told us how hard he fought the cancer, and how optimistic he was that he would “beat this thing,” especially the last 2 weeks. Then, this morning, he just couldn’t fight anymore.
The group of us sat there quietly, reflecting on what just happened, and suddenly, the stress and turmoil of the long, hot day seemed to fade away. We were inspired with a renewed sense of mission and purpose, and why what we are doing was so important. This Tour isn’t about us, or even about how much money we raise. It’s about something much greater than that. It’s about connecting with our fellow human beings, and knowing that, in spite of our differences, deep down, we are all the same. And maybe, just maybe, through our shear passion and presence, we can make a difference in someone’s life. It’s about the people we inspire, and those who inspire us. And this is why we ride…
Thank you, Summer.
(for ACT 2011)