A Cowboy and Two HSUS Supporters Boarded A Plane…
Despite disliking being away from the ranch and family, I look forward to traveling and challenge myself to meet new people, learn new things and make each trip memorable. This trip is definitely going down as one to remember.
Perhaps it is my hat, but folks seem inclined to make eye contact with me and that typically leads to a minimum of a simple greeting in passing. Yesterday morning, as I passed through the scanner in Sacramento, one of the TSA agents, watching folks gather their belongings and getting dressed, asked me where I was from. I told her from Etna, North of Mt. Shasta. Surprise! She grew up in the Scott Valley and we shared some names of the old family names who used to reside there, when the timber industry still flourished.
I boarded my flight to Chicago and while we sat on the tarmac, waiting for 20 minutes to be allowed to take off, engaged in conversation with the two gentlemen next to me. One was in construction and knew several of the same people I did from Chico State and Modesto Junior College. The other was good friends with a lady who had lived and taught in my home town. She had lost her husband to an unexpected heart attack, while he was running his small saw mill in a remote area. It was good to hear about her continued teaching and the success of her sons, following the sudden loss.
As I prepared to board my last flight, from Chicago to Washington D.C., I wondered what conversation would take place on this leg of my journey. A young couple, in their 20’s, sat next to me and inquired my occupation….lol. I shared my background, to which they replied that they were strong supporters of what I did and were doing their part by donating monthly to…..HSUS. I let that register in my brain for a moment, sent out a tweet and mentally laid out a plan of engagement. Surprisingly, by asking a line of questions about their understanding of what HSUS does and how they do it, the couple then began asking questions about how I and other family farmers and ranchers cared for our livestock and why I did not appreciate the “help” of the HSUS. By the time we landed in Washington, the couple stated that they would be changing their monetary contributions from HSUS to their local shelter and even begin donating old towels and sheets. In addition, the fellow sitting across the aisle, volunteered that he was going to start helping his local shelter as well, and would help spread the word about what HSUS was really doing.
As I headed from the baggage claim area, on my way to the Metro, we parted with handshakes and appreciation for the conversation. It was a great start to my time in Washington D.C. and a reminder of the importance for farmers and ranchers to share their stories. Look for opportunities to share, wherever you are. You never know the difference you can make as an individual.
UPDATE: Lots of questions about my feelings towards HSUS, I wrote a blog post about that previously “Thoughts on HSUS“