On the airplane from LA to Honolulu I met this man Pete. Pete was 45, stocky but more on the heavy side, with salt and pepper hair who listened to Korn, Marilyn Manson, Reggae (he had a Bob Marley shirt on when I met him) and all different kinds of music. He was incredible. Pete and I moved from basic small talk to conversation on the meaning of life and us both sharing our life stories, and it was a really awesome experience. Pete was a cook at Universal Studio’s Wonderful Wizarding World of Harry Potter exhibit, and he absolutely loved his job. His job enabled him to have enough vacation time to take trips to Hawaii 4 times a year (trips which were filled with the best days of the year, he told me) and he was even considering moving down to Oahu to open a food truck selling food out of a (properly equipped) vehicle to tourists. Pete’s Treats and Island Sweets was the name he jokingly called the venture. He was a truly awesome guy and it was a real privilege and honor to meet him. When we landed in Honolulu he let me tag along with him to the hostels because he was staying in one that was literally on the same block as mine. He showed me where to catch a shuttle and helped me get a roundtrip shuttle ticket for $13, which was awesome. Thanks to him I just had to wait for the shuttle to get me at 2 am and not pay any additional fees, whereas without him I would have had to call a cab and I would have ended up paying $40.
It was a really awesome experience to be involved in, though. Pete was religious to some degree yet didn’t treat me any different when I told him I was Atheist and even after that he stood by his declaration that I was a fine young man and that more 18 year olds need to be like me. He said I was very wise for my age and seemed to have a very good head on my shoulders, and I when I told him about my trip his conviction to this only seemed to strengthen. He talked about how much he admired what I was doing and was saying that I will without a doubt do great things in my life (second stranger to tell me that in the span of a month—I’d say that’s a decent count) and it was all a very humbling experience and really helped boost my confidence about this whole adventure. Before we got to the hostels we exchanged phone numbers (he said if I was ever in Orlando to give him a call because I now always have a place to stay there), emails, and I gave him the address to my blog while he gave me his Youtube name so I could look up some of his drum videos. He also handed me a note which said “God bless you and I wish you the best. You are a fine young man.”—so yeah, Pete, if you’re reading this, you’re pretty fucking awesome and it was truly an honor.