Thursday, April 7, 2011


Hello everyone!  I am doing something really special that I wanted to share with you.  My journey to Topeka, Kansas was quite the trip but I was determined to get here to meet Ryan, a young, shy 17 year old kid from the Make-A-Wish organization.  You see, I am here to grant his wish. From the moment you meet Ryan, you know that you are in the presence of kindness.  His strength and courage in the face of tremendous health issues really has inspired me in a whole new way. I had to blog about Ryan....not because of his health struggles but because of what he has taught me.
I was really excited to talk to him and get to know him, but he was really, really shy and kind of quiet.  I knew that wasn’t going to stop me.  Our worlds are so vastly different that I can understand how Ryan might be uncomfortable to spend time and chat.   What I love is that he has a wise, old soul.  You do not meet people in life like this often and when you stop and take it all in.   

After a while of me doing a lot of the chatting, he mentioned he had just been to New York, so I asked why.  Ryan is in the marching band at his high school. I immediately responded and said..."so was I". He became so excited and quickly asked what instrument I played.   I shared with him, in case you are wondering too, I played the saxophone , clarinet and later became the drum major (thank you very much).   I asked him what he played and he said percussion.  We began to laugh and chat more.  I  leaned over and said “so Ryan, do you think we are band geeks?”....he looked up and laughed and said "Yeah I do".  I said you are right but we are actually really cool!!!   Finding something that we had in common made him loosen up and he started talking about his love of video games.  When I told him how I just LOVE playing video games his eyes completely lit up.  I could literally feel the walls between us crumble and all of a sudden we were just two normal guys sitting on a porch, him wearing my hoodie (it was freezing out) and me wearing his Dad's jacket….talking about the things we loved.

Whenever someone is nervous, if you just talk about what they love, their passions or their hobbies, you get to see the real them.  The fact that I felt such a bond to this 17 year old boy that was so different than me, just gives me hope that someday I WISH that everyone will learn that all of us are really more alike than different at their core.  Maybe Ryan wasn't shy, maybe he is wiser than I thought.  Perhaps he was doing what I was doing- listening, observing and getting to know me as I was getting to know him.  He was trying to make me feel comfortable just as I was doing the same for him. 

I really just want to remind everyone know that no matter how different you may THINK you are from some body, there is always a common thread that you two share but only if you take the time to find it.  Finding it, and the journey of getting to know people and yourself in the process is so beautiful.  In this electronic age, sometimes we need to just slow down and take the time to talk to each other. We all must take a breath so we can stop and really listen to one another.  Thank you Ryan for teaching me and for sharing your journey. 


  1. Hi David
    As a Southern CA based event producer who is originally from Topeka KS, I applaud you for taking time of your busy schedule to spend time with Ryan from the Make-A-Wish Organization. My schedule is always so full that I don't make it back to visit friends and family as often as I should and I'm from there.

  2. This is an example of what we need more of everyday. People making time for each other, listening and getting to know who we are, rather than who we seem to be. Kudos to both of you for making the world a better place.

  3. Absolutely amazing David! I am a loyal follower of yours ( borderline stalker? ) and this post is the very reason. You are simply amazing. Bless your heart!


  4. I forgot to mention..that I too was a band geek (drummer and drum major) I am starting to see a pattern here. Perhaps a career as an event producer is in Ryan's future.

  5. Hi David-
    I have many health issues as Ryan and have been told I have an "old soul". I believe we all have one thing similar at the core of us and it is - "to be accepted no matter how different".

    Thank you for sharing your story about Ryan and how you have changed because of his impact on you and vice versa! You are a special man with a rare soul!
    Estelle in upstate NY

  6. If we could all just focus on our similarities, the differences would dissolve as kindness grows.

  7. "Thumbs Up" David... You should get some star cuff links for that. :O)

  8. Love this story! I was in Charlotte with you last weekend and was wondering how this trip unfolded. It appears that it has been very rewarding. I absolutely LOVE this story to the core. I constantly share with family and friends how technology sometimes impedes the true relationships that we can foster. Additionally, how at the very core of us are similarities that we do not realize because the focus is placed on our differences. Thanks so much for sharing!!

  9. im a former band geek and grateful for the memories as im now handicapped. David, what you did for that young man is simply immeasurable on the happiness sale. you will certainly reap what you sew. God bless you.

  10. oops scale not sale (sorry, hands dont work well)

  11. This is beautiful!! I was just sharing a moment with someone not long ago that came about because we discovered that we were both in marching band... BAND GEEKS UNITED!! (I play saxophone, too).

    It's wonderful how we can ALL connect with one another by TAKING THE TIME to find out ANYTHING about someone. There will almost always be something in common even if that element is as small as enjoying AIR. Actually, even that is rather significant.

    David, you have a true gift. I've seen it while watching your show. You have a way about you that shows your investment in people's lives... you connect with those that appear to struggle to let anyone in. You have a ministry!!

    I think you're like sunshine and rainbows in how you fill a room with light. Thank you for making this world a better place to move around in and encouraging so many that you touch.


  12. Hey David,
    I was one of the Deputies who had the privilege of meeting you at this event in Topeka. (I blocked the parking lot for one of the surprises :)After that evening, and having the chance to get to meet you as an avid follower of your show, I quickly got on here to read your posts. Your heart for all of these people is so big and so genuine. It was amazing to stand there and talk to you, and really see how you had poured your heart out for this family (and so many others). It was truly and honor to be a part of something so special, even tho I only helped in a very minor way. I wish you the best of luck, as you continue to reach out into the lives of people around the country, helping make their special dream more than anything they could have ever imagined :)


    PS: When my boyfriend returns home from the military in about 2 years, keep me in mind :)

  13. I wasn't a band geek, but I do work with kids every day. I have worked as a school counselor for years, and you are very right David. A little patience, lots of listening, and caring enough to take the time to listen, will go along ways in finding common threads between all of us. Bless you for the person you are!

  14. I love you so much more now that I know you were a drum major in high school - so was I! You are so amazing, and my dream is for you to plan my wedding. Someday....

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