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Earlier in October, there was a great story in one of our local papers, Kamloops This Week.  Dave Eagles, who is the staff photographer at KTW, was out on a story when he happened to see a man named Paul Lyons sitting on the sidewalk downtown.  Mr. Lyons is homeless, and he was sitting up against a closed storefront.  His crutches were leaning to one side of him, and to his other side sat a row of stuffed animals that he had rescued from a dumpster.  In his hands was the book he was reading, Trump: The Art of the Deal, which he picked up from a “free” bin at a downtown second-hand book store.

Mr. Eagles snapped the picture, and wrote a brief story about Mr. Lyons.  (Hold your horses, we’ll get to The Donald soon enough.)  A local woman named Audrey Karpoff cut the photo and article out of the paper and sent it to Trump’s executive offices in Manhattan.  She wanted to see what happened, but was hardly expecting the result she got.

One of the minions liked what they saw, because this newspaper clipping made it all the way to the top dog.  Donald Trump himself saw it.  I know this because he wrote a letter to Mr. Eagles, commending him on the story and photo and commenting on Mr. Lyons’ inspiring attitude.  Not only did he write and send this letter, but he also enclosed a cheque for $1,000 for Mr. Lyons and asked Mr. Eagles to make sure that it was delivered.

Mr. Eagles wrote a subsequent article about the letter and cheque from The Donald, and about delivering the cheque to Mr. Lyons.  Mr. Lyons was so touched that he wept.  In an interview, Donald Trump said, “‘This guy seemed to me to be trying so hard.  It was really interesting, he really seemed to be trying to figure out life.  He looked like a really good guy.'”

Now, there are people who will scoff at this story, and point out that with all his billions (hundreds of millions?  whatever), he could afford to send more than $1,000 to a homeless man.  I look at it differently.  There was no obligation for Donald Trump to do anything at all, let alone send a nice letter and a cheque.  In the past, I have been one of the people who have mocked The Donald, and honestly, who thought little of the man.

But here, he had a chance to be compassionate and reach out to someone in a small city in BC that no one’s ever heard of.  It’s not like the NY Times covered this story.  (I just had to run to check.  No results in my search for “Kamloops” in the last thirty days.)  No one who has any influence or impact on, or connection with Donald Trump’s life will ever see this story.  He didn’t do it to improve his image here in the ‘Loops.  Heck, I’m sure it couldn’t matter less to him what people here think.  He just did it to be nice.  To be kind.

And now I think of Donald Trump differently.  Another reminder that just because we see someone in the media all the time, that doesn’t mean we really know anything about him.

I guess that goes for this instance, too.  But I choose to focus on it, rather than all the stories that make The Donald out to be a jerk.  And why shouldn’t I focus on the positive?  Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we all did that regularly?

(I can’t copy the original picture here.  If you’d like to see it, here it is.)

Wow, today was like traveling back in time to grade 9.  I was working an SPCA booth at a Kamloops Storm hockey game.  (I can’t tell you much about the kids that were playing or the level of play;  there are more hockey leagues up here than you can shoot a puck at.  It’s Canada, eh?)

Anyway, there I was, up on the concourse with our fantastic fundraiser PT, and lo and behold:  a woman was wearing legwarmers!  I can see the attraction of wearing them to a hockey game, but seriously, where can you buy legwarmers in 2008?  Or did someone save them, for “when they come back in style”?  And are they back in style?  Clue me in, internets!

Over the course of the game, I counted at least a dozen women with 80’s hair.  You know, that long perm, with the bumpy bangs shellacked within an inch of their lives?  Where you’d curl sections of your bangs, and not comb them out, so they sat like a stairway of bumpy, shiny, steps?  I know that Big Hair Envy knows exactly the hair I mean.  I haven’t actually seen hair like that since high school.  And what’s with all these 80’s-haired women being at the Storm game?  Are hockey moms stuck in the 80’s?  Maybe I should ask Sarah Palin.  (Ooh, cheap shot!)

But I’ve saved the best for last.  Here’s the backstory first.  When I was in grade 9, my friends and I spent all our time at the roller rink.  We had a great one here in the ‘Loops, and roller skating was way popular.  There was this guy who worked there, behind the skate rental and repair counter.  I’ll call him Skateguy.  (I do know his actual name, of course, but in case he’s one of the four or five people who regularly read my blog, I’ll keep his anonymity.  And you’ll see why in a minute.)

I had the world’s hugest crush on Skateguy.  I loved rollerskating, but I have to admit that there were many times that I went just to see Skateguy.  He was a few years older than I was, with blonde hair and (what I realize now was a weedy kind of) mustache.  I spent a lot of my time at the rink watching him clandestinely.  Or at least, I thought it was clandestinely.  Looking back, it was probably pathetically obvious that I was sooooo in love with him that I thought I would die.

Now, back to the future with me.  I saw Skateguy at the Storm game today.  He was very… round.  And his face, it was round, too.  Unmistakably him, but my God.  So round.  Probably he looks more round than he really is because he’s not the tallest guy.  He was wearing pretty much the same clothes I remember from way back then… well, not the same clothes, I’m sure.  But jeans, some sort of jacket with a sports theme (like a letter jacket, but not quite so lame), and a ballcap.  When they played the national anthem, he took his cap off and holy sh*t, he only had hair around the sides and back, with a great big bald spot, right on top of his head!

I was just astonished!  And I couldn’t help myself, I immediately thought that if that’s how he turned out, isn’t it a good thing we didn’t get together, get married, and have a passel of kids?  (Not like he even gave me the time of day back then, but you know.)  I squealed and poked PT, telling her who he was.  We laughed until we almost peed our pants.

(Now internets, I am certainly not claiming that I’ve aged particularly well myself.  But, to my knowledge, he didn’t have elaborate fantasies of us spending our lives together, so the way I turned out is irrelevant.  So there.)

Skateguy was there by himself.  I don’t know if he was there to cheer on his kid who was playing in the game, or if he’s a hockey addict who goes to all the games of all the teams to get his fix, or if he’s just creepy.  I was just congratulating myself on having squeaked out of a future together.

I hope that his life is good.  Even though he never so much as acknowledged my existence, beyond giving me my size eight skates, I hope he’s got a life he likes.  And, especially, that he’s not creepy.  I feel like that would be weird, for me to have had such a desperate crush on someone who turned out to be creepy.

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