We have all heard the expression, "...not all heroes wear capes..." or even "...not all Angels have wings...".
I have always been a firm believer in these sayings, having seen many of them in my life time. Firemen, Police Officers, Paramedics, Nurses, Vet Techs, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines; but every now and then you can run into the most unlikely hero or angel. Someone who you never saw coming, or ever would have expected.
That is what happened to me today. As many of you know, I am trying to start up a comic book store. Unable to get financing or grants, I turned to crowd funding via "Go Fund Me". As a Veteran and disabled Paramedic, times have been tough. So when something like the following story occurs, I consider myself truly blessed.
Earlier today, I was at the grocery store. As I walk in, sitting in a wheelchair at the entrance was a Vietnam Veteran. I do as I always do when I see or meet a Brother or Sister Veteran; I thank them for their service and welcome them home. The Veteran and I chat for a moment. The man had served 4 tours in Vietnam. I hadn't noticed at first, but another gentleman that was entering the store had briefly over heard mine and the Veterans conversation I would later come to find out.
I go about my business and enter the store. Gathering what items I need, I pass the gentleman that overheard my chat several times. Tall and slender, with an attentive look in his eyes. As that of an artist, with many hours paying attention to the slightest details. His presence alone deserved respect. There are times you just know, when meeting someone, that they are righteous.
After passing each other several times, he stops me. "Excuse, me. Are you a Veteran?" I tried to figure out how he knew. It surely wasn't my Captain America tee shirt or Decepticon Transformer ball cap that gave it away. I answered yes to his query, and we begin to talk.
His name is Jay. A retired Art Teacher and Illustrator, Jay has been caring for his nephew; also a Veteran who now has M.S. Jay had overheard my discussion with the Army Grunt in the wheelchair. We begin to discuss a variety of things, from the poor excuse for health care that is offered by the VA, to the challenges I have been facing of late trying to start my own business.
His passion for the art of comic books makes his eyes glimmer. You can see the man loves his craft. As we begin to part ways, I hand him a card for the web site. He shakes my hand and begins to speak, "I would like to donate to your fundraising campaign." I politely dismiss him, saying that I could not take money from a man in a grocery store. He tells me to continue my shopping and that he would catch up to me.
We part ways, and I have to be honest; I sort of thought that he was joking, or just blowing smoke and that I would never see him again. A few more aisles later, I get a tap on my shoulder. I turn to see the renaissance like facial features of Jay. "Here Spike. Please take this. It's not much, but I want to see a Comic Book store on Main Street in town." I look down at the money and begin to refuse. The look in his eyes tells me that I am not going to win this argument. Happiness with a few tears welling up in the corners, my eyes begin to do the same.
He affirms that he will be a regular customer once I open the doors on the shop. I just met the man, but had this need to hug him. I outstretch my arms as does he. A friendly embrace and we part ways. I look down in my hand. Jay had just given me $50.00.
Who does that? Nobody does that. Who was this man? This good Samaritan, this angel? I look again and the thought hits me. "I'm going to use this for the store. Right now. I finish my shopping and head to one of my wholesaler's. I instantly purchase $50.00 worth of back stock for the stores inventory. That's what the picture of the comics at the top of the article is about.
That is the new inventory I was able to purchase, all because of a retired Art Teacher, that did what most people on earth, would never. He helped a total stranger. In the fashion of the heroes from the printed pages that I hold dear, Jay is a hero without a cape. An Angel without wings.
Please, if you are able to help me achieve my dream and bring the joy of comics to a community,
CLICK HERE TO DONATE
CEO Spike Bowan is the Pittsburgh based Actor/Director/ Author/ Creator of the Alternate History Genre/Fiction saga "War in the Backyard".
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