In 2008, I was working at a small record label in Orlando, Florida. Every morning before work, I went to a gas station across the street from work to get a cup of coffee. Being a regular customer at the small store, I became a familiar face with my frequent visits to Gina, a middle aged woman who worked there. One December morning, I walked inside to see Gina getting off of a phone call, crying. I asked what happened, and she told me that an unexpected bill had come in. I then learned that Gina was a single mom with three kids, and after paying for this bill, she won’t have money left to buy any Christmas presents for her kids. To me, this didn’t even make sense, a kid should be able to open a present on Christmas. There was no way I could hear her story like that and not try to help . I didn’t have much money at the time, but I told her to wait and not stress while I tried to figure something out.
I ran back to my office and shared Gina’s story with all of my coworkers and demanded they each give me $50. I also called my parents and friends to help out . Fifteen minutes later, I had acquired a total of about $500 dollars from everyone around me. I walked back to the gas station and gave Gina the money. I told her it wasn’t much but it’s enough to buy a few things so her kids will have presents open on Christmas morning. Gina fell over and cried tears of joy.
At the time, I didn’t run a charity and it wasn’t my main agenda, but I realized how easy it was to help people, just by paying attention to others needs and using the resources and contacts I already had. The organization of Regular Hero wasn’t started then, but the mindset was.
Also working as a visual artist by trade, I also wanted to use the things I made to have the end result of changing people’s lives. I didn’t realize that other types of artists, comedians, musicians, felt the same way. There’s really nothing better than doing what you love to do and having the end result be someone’s life changed.
Years later, we’ve helped thousands of people from all walks of life, in all different ways. Together with our Regular Hero friends, we do on comedy shows, put on concerts, sell art, and use other forms of creative outlets to raise money and awareness to help those in need.
It all starts with simply going outside, finding someone who needs help, and doing it. You don’t have to look for them, they come to you everyday. You just have to decide to pay attention. At least that’s what happened to me. The best part was / is, it ended help helping me more than them. I call it Selfish Compassion. For some reason, helping people feels so good. Try it, I dare you.
Founder of Regular Hero