Wow. It’s the last day of another Kidd’s Kids trip. I am exhausted, but I wouldn’t change it. I got to spend my weekend with some incredible people. I’m sure that people think that I am the number one Kellie Rasberry butt kisser in the world. And you know what? I would be more than happy to hold that position if she would be comfortable with it. But I don’t think she could ever be ok with that. But I would do it in a heartbeat. I consider myself to be a pretty good judge of character and, in my eyes, she walks the walk. On the radio, Kellie is funny and quick and smart and well spoken and just captures your attention. Off the air she is exactly the same. The Kellie that you guys know from the radio is authentic Kellie. Brilliance. I’ve been lucky enough the past 3 years or so to be in Kellie’s “pod” on the Kidd’s Kids Trip. That means that I am with Kellie for the majority of the trip. I’m kind of her right hand man. And I can tell you that I’m not the only person who thinks that she hung the moon. The families here adore her as well. And, after this trip, I see where she gets it from. Mr. and Mrs. Rasberry flew in to see what this trip is all about and I seriously enjoyed getting to spend some time with them. With my lifestyle and their religious beliefs, it would be easy for them not to even give me a chance. But they do. Mr. Rasberry is one of the most considerate people I’ve met. He’s always asking how you’re doing and helping out. He made the kids feel like the stars they are on this trip by getting all of their autographs. He’s just a genuinely good, nice human being who I can say I’m proud to know. Mrs. Rasberry is the same way. Always there to lend a hand when it’s needed. She’s a momma at heart and it shows in the way that she treats those around her. And then there’s Emma Kelly. I held that little girl the day she was born, and I’ve not had that much opportunity to really hang out with her. But Kellie wanted her to experience this trip and see how other kids live their lives, so she paid for her to come to WDW. Emma Kelly has empathy and patience and all of the qualities that parents want their child to have. She gets the fact that she is fortunate to be healthy and happy. She adores her mom and is so sweet in showing it. She and I hung out enough this trip that she held my hand while we were walking through the park. She would walk up and hug me. She made friends with the Kidd’s Kids who hung out with us. She is seriously a cool kid and I’m feeling seriously lucky to have seen it first hand this weekend. But that’s just the first part of the awesomeness of Kidd’s Kids 2012.
I said in one of my Facebook posts that every year there’s a kid or two that just steals my heart. This year was no exception. Victoria is one of those kids. I put pictures of her on every social feed I could. In fact I attribute the fact that I used all of the data allotted on my cell phone plan to posting pictures and other stuff about her. I mean that. I got a text yesterday that said that I only have 10% of my data left. Ahhhh! But it was worth it to share it with you guys who made this trip happen. She is an inspiration that I wish every person I know could meet. She smiles all the time. She wasn’t expected to be able to walk or talk, but who walked with me through Hollywood Studios and said grace before we could eat lunch? Uhm that would be Victoria. The miracle child. There are about 56 miracle children on this trip, not including the amazing siblings that have to bear the burden of stuff themselves. There are some teenage girls here who put most teenage girls to shame. For real. Most 15 year olds pitch a fit if they’re not the center of attention. But the kids on this trip. Get what it means to have empathy. If their sister can’t ride, they don’t ride. Even if we ask them 10 times if they’re sure they don’t want to ride something, they stick with NO! I’ve met some pretty cool teenagers before, but I have to be honest and tell you that most of them have been on a Kidd’s Kids trip. Unbelievable people.
I just finished learning how to do the double shuffle from one of the kids. I think I’m officially old because that stuff wore me out. But it was great.
And I have to be honest with another fact. That while this trip puts the greatness of some people into perspective, it also makes me realize that some people just suck at life. They cut off a wheelchair and then give the kid an evil look for being in their way. And I can’t even tell you the horrible thoughts that go through my head and the kick in the gut I feel when I’m walking with a kid who has some form of Cancer and there’s a smoker sitting there lighting up, not even remotely recognizing the irony of the situation. Here you are CHOOSING to do damage to yourself and the people around you while this poor child has no choice but to bear this burden. It makes me want to just scream at them the ignorance I know that they have with every puff. And I know that we are all entitled to making our own choices and I’m not going to judge them for smoking. It’s just under the circumstances and seeing all of these kids who did nothing to bring this stuff on themselves…it makes me angry. I’m angry because of this amazing little guy who has Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy who will likely not live past his 20’s and has so much potential that he will likely never get to fulfill. And then there are all of those people who have the world at their fingertips and they take a break from it every fifteen minutes to puff away at something that’s doing them nothing but harm. Ugh.
Back to the positive stuff. Derrick Brown is a saint among men. He is the guy in charge of Kidd’s Kids. He takes care of every little detail we could imagine and then the ones that come up during the trip. You would think that the man has a direct line to Mickey Mouse and Jesus because he does his job with such intensity and passion that I can’t explain it any other way. Lyndsay Davis is Derrick’s right hand woman. All the guys in the office appreciate the fact that she is HOT. I get it. She is. But she’s not one of those who skates through life with her looks. She has learned from Derrick how to make dreams come true. She does her job with grace and calmness and I’m in awe of her as well. Of course Kidd is the man who started all of this and continues this amazing tradition year after year. And he has done a fabulous job of surrounding himself with people who give a damn. In today’s world it seems like that’s hard to come by. I am so incredibly blessed to be able to call these people my family. Very lucky. I hope that I continue to be blessed for a long time to come.
Oh, a couple more things. Todd Graves from Raising Canes did an incredible thing when he gave every Kidd's Kid an iPad. I have seen more parents taking pictures and videos with the iPads than normal cameras. And, as always, Southwest Airlines. What can I possibly say to give justice to a company that donates an airplane and fuel and staff to take care of us. They throw the coolest going away party in a private hanger. And they have a smile on their faces throughout the whole thing. At the end of the day, so many people come together to make this trip once in a lifetime. And our listeners who donate the money to fund all that isn't donated. AMAZING!!! I am proud to know that I work for an organization you trust enough to give your hard earned money to. THANK YOU!