Walking A Mile For Rod
Posted by Trushna Mehta on Jun 19, 2011
Our friend, fellow CF'er, Rod Gardner recently suffered a stroke -- and a few of us wanted to tag him with act of kindness. The idea is to "Walk a Mile for Rod" in your community, pick up any spare change you find on the streets, donate it to a soup kitchen and send me a story/photo/art/video about it so I put it all together and hand-deliver it to him.
Some of you might recall Rod from some of the CF retreats. Rod and his wife Connie (both in their 70s) spend two hours a day walking, to get their daily bit of exercise. Along the way, they keep their eyes open for spare change, mostly pennies, that people have dropped and they pick it up and collect it. When the coin-bags in their home become heavy (25 lbs), they carry it and walk to a local food shelter and donate it anonymously; to this day, the shelters will recognize them but don't know their names. They've been doing this for the last 9 years and have probably donated about $2500 bucks this way.
Homeless people have offered him money, he has returned wallets and traveler's check worth $500, and he has befriended the most unassuming folks from substance abusers to shopkeepers. "Rather unexpectedly, it builds community," he said. People would offer him change or even dollar bills -- and he would tell them that he only accepts what's found on the streets. (In some cases, his well-wishers drop it on the ground so he picks it up in one of his rounds! :)) Rod talks about the "begging bowl" feeling of humility when he reaches into the gutter to pick up a penny; if you ask him, "You know that you can make more in an hour than you would during an entire year of picking up coins. What do you think about that?" Without skipping a beat, he says: "Actually, I never think about that." For Rod, it's about the process, not the outcomes.
It'll be beautiful to honor Rod's spirit by our walks. If you and/or your friends are open do this, please share a photo or an idea or a reflection in the comment section below and I'll be happy to creatively collage it all together and hand-deliver it to Rod!