So, those of us participating in #1000Speak Voices For Compassion are supposed to do a little reveal of what our post is going to be about Friday. I really thought about it. I’ve had my idea in mind for about a week and have been working as often as I can on my post. But I’ve decided I’m not going to reveal it to you. I love surprises and I don’t like easy hints that give the surprise away. (I’m pretty good at guessing by the way-psst Denise…when you said you had a secret, the first thought that went through my head was “she’s coming down for a visit-yeah…our ESP is alive and well.)
Instead of doing a reveal, I am going to do what others have been doing. I am going to talk about people showing compassion. But I am going to “reveal” the people in my life, people I know and have known personally, who are the best examples of compassion in action.
First up is a man I worked with back in my teens. When I was 16 years old I had a job at Six Flags Over Texas walking around the theme park selling mylar balloons. Best.Job.Ever. I got to meet and become friends with a conglomerate of others whose lives were as varied as they could be. One of my friends was a man ten years older than me who was a caricature artist. Ty quickly became a dear friend. He made me laugh and brought a lot of joy to my life. At one point he nicknamed me Bubbles. Ty was fun and cheerful, and the days he wasn’t it almost always broke my heart, and I loved to try and get a smile out of him if I could. We were friends for a couple of years and loved hanging out at Six Flags and riding the rides before our work shifts or after. Then, a month or so before I turned 18 I gave notice that I wouldn’t be working for them any more because graduation and school was becoming difficult to juggle with work. That was a very difficult decision because I had developed some very dear friendships and I knew the probability of keeping in touch once I left.
Years go by and some years back when Jack was around 5 years old I “found” Ty again via Facebook. We quickly reconnected and caught up with each other’s lives after SIx Flags. I was glad to see he was married to a gorgeous chef and had two boys. Ty was still doing caricatures and was a working artist (he even did a painting that was displayed at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington the first year it was open). But his and his wife’s dream was to work at Disneyworld, so a few years ago they made the move to Florida and have been there ever since. His wife is a Disney chef, and if you are out that way go find Ty who is still “drawing smiles” and bringing happiness to Disneyworld visitors the world over.
But that’s not all Ty does. Ty is one of the best examples I know of compassion in action. He doesn’t just talk the talk or walk the walk…he is compassion. I read every one of his Facebook posts, and back when his family moved to Florida they were barely able to live off of their meager income. So when I started reading about Ty buying food for “cardboard pedestrians” I was utterly amazed at the selflessness of his action. Money, the one resource his family needed for their own survival, was being used to buy food for someone else. Someone who needed it more and probably hadn’t eaten in days. I read about how Ty would be on his way to lunch and pass a Cardboard Pedestrian as he calls those people we all see standing on the street corners holding “will work for food” etc, signs. He would buy a sandwich and a drink and take it to the person he met. Ty never gives them money, so sometimes he would come across someone who would refuse the food and get upset that he wouldn’t give them money. Those were the people Ty said were obviously not ready to receive help. So after talking with them he would leave them. You can’t force food onto people but there is always someone who will accept it. Ty finds these people and gives from his heart. It’s just food, but you’d be surprised how many people are just as glad that someone took the time to notice them and speak to them. For that’s what Ty does as well. He hears their stories. He talks with them. He notices them. Here is one of his Facebook posts from January:
“January 24, 2015
On my way back to my shop after a little 1 year old birthday party. My tip was par, but plus a plate of home made Cuban food. That makes it exceptionally a special tip. Nice folks. No one spoke English, but we all laughed and smiled a lot.
At the last intersection I gave the meal to a Cardboard Pedestrian, whom turned out to be pretty savvy and clean-ish. A clean-ish Festus looking guy. His gear was rough. I told him the food was my tip, and stay warm. He smiled and said yes, he’s got a sleeping bag and a small tent. He seemed happy to be free and thankful.
so am I.”
Here is another one that made me cry.
“August 1, 2014
The reason I’m saving the world one smile at a time is because of little moments like this one I had the other night. I drew my first blind person. A young communications student from Puerto Rico and her husband/boyfriend. Sweetest, nicest, happiest young man I think I’ve ever met. Immediately I knew he was a very special man, and how could he be any less? He loved this young woman so much, he was her eyes to the world and happy to be called for such a life. I drew them both together as the rest of her family watched and social networked the moment. It was one of the sweetest moments I’ve had drawing smiles in quite some time. They were delightful and grateful just to be there. She even proudly proclaimed it was her their first trip together. He blushed. Her mother laughed and continued to film as I drew them.
Then after I drew them,which they loved. He and the family described it to her in a variety of excited detail and gestures. It was all very amusing to say the least. Then with her radiant smile. She asked me “to draw her without her dark glasses, but don’t draw the scars. She was asking If I could see past the damage from the accident that caused her blindness and draw her eyes before she lost her sight.”
“Of course” I said, “I’d be delighted and honored to do so.” The family all gathered around and described every line I drew. We all laughed, they told stories about how they met, but we never discussed the accident that took her sight. Nobody mentioned it after she showed me her scars. It was really fun and her face was just glowing. The onlookers seemed to be recognizing that this was indeed something special going on. I will not describe the scars. Dreadful as they were, it’s beside the point. And the point being this is why I love saving the world one smile at a time.
Better yet, it seems the world is saving me one smile at a time. Either way, it’s a win win. And the best of it all, how many street artist do you know that can say he drew a pretty blind girl funny and she loved it?
This is the man I knew all those years ago. This was the heart I was lucky enough to receive the gift of friendship from. Ty, you are an every day hero. Your wife and kids are so lucky to have you and I am sure they know that. And Disney has a treasure among their ranks. Keep drawing smiles, my friend. The world needs them.
Please watch the video below. These are the types of people Ty meets.