Occasionally someone comes along in our journey who portrays their story in a video, a touching movie, or a song that really really moves people. I have a number of those stories, songs, and videos that have moved me and impacted me in my life. I am definitely what my wife calls “crusty”. What she means (I think) is that I have a crusty, rough and “look tough and mean” outside but a really soft and mushy inside. My eyes sweat when I see or hear about a young soldier who gives his life intently to save his friends, or maybe I am moved by the song “cats in the cradle and the silver spoon” which is about our relationships with our Dads, or hearing the real story about the guys who died trying to defend the Alamo, in Vietnam, or even the US Embassy in Bengazi. I deeply enjoy hearing about dedication, honor, unconditional love between us and “the never say die” mentality or attitude. This is something I share often: “It’s always the right thing to do the right thing”.
On my way back from Los Angeles Saturday, where I got to watch my best bud Wade get inducted into the SEMA Hall of Fame, I flew thru Dallas with Chattanooga my destination,…. home sweet home. Riding down the escalator in DFW from the shuttle between terminals, there was a guy in front of me who was in his sixties or early seventies wearing shorts and running shoes. We all know old guys often wear running shoes because they are easier on your knees and old bones..but…. This guy was different. I noticed his legs looked like he worked out a lot or ran a whole lot more. I used to, so I know.
His features were stark and hard and defined but he had a determined smile and swagger about him. Finishing the long ride down the escalator I found my gate and then set out to find a quick bite to eat. I saw this man again standing in line for one of those $7.00 Starbuck coffees. I sat down at Bennigans and had Blue Moon and some Fish n Chips. While I was eating, it came to me who this guy was. I hate it when my brain kicks in 15 minutes after i need it too. I knew who he was! I had to go to find him. I had to be sure it was him. I remembered I had seen this guy on a video that hit me and moved me. I had to tell him that he had impacted me. I just walked from gate to gate looking for him til I found him. I sat down beside him and said, ” Excuse me sir, are you Dick Hoyt?” to which he answered “Yes”. Now….don’t forget that I said I am a hard case with a soft inside. I told him that his video with his son Rick had really blessed me and I simply wanted to introduce myself and tell him that it was an encouragement to me. He told me that he had been in Colorado on a speaking engagement but that he was to arrive back in his home in Massachusetts by 130 AM Sunday morning just in time to race with his race partner/son Rick on Sunday. He also said it with a joy in his eye. He told me that he never competes without his son Rick because his son feels free when he competes with him!
Now you probably know exactly who the guy is that I am talking about. Even if you do, I challenge you to watch his video again.
Here is where it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UH943Az_lPQ
After speaking with him I found his video on my iphone on YouTube by tapping out “man who competes in Triathalon with disabled son”. Watch it. If you have seen it before, watch it again. If it doesn’t move you, then I’m sorry. I teared up again in the middle of DFW Airport today and you know something…I ain’t dang bit ashamed of that and don’t give a flip if anyone who saw me thinks I am weak. If you, like me, think this guy is a hero then you are what one of my favorite authors calls a TENDER WARRIOR.
Nice to meet you Dick Hoyt, you and your son Rick ..go get em tomorrow! I want to be on YOUR team!
From the road,