Meet Eddie and his wife, owners of the Elk Run RV Park in Elk City, OK. We spent the night here (41 mile marker) after Reza's first day of running in Oklahoma. I'd gone here to check their rates and scope out the accommodations in advance.
We've found that $25 a night for two people has tended to be on the high side of what we've encountered along the way and $15 a night has been the low end.
As you can see, Reza and I have added a little signage to the side of the motor home...some handy work he and I created at Kinko's and then applied in the parking lot of Home Depot--both in Amarillo, TX.
The poster is always a good ice breaker in conversation. I tell Eddie what it's all about and he says, "Ahh, I'll let you stay for $!2." Very kind of him but his generosity was only getting started! I say, "Thanks." and said I'll return after I pick up Reza.
When I return he fills out a receipt for me and asks if he can get Reza's autograph? "Eddie," I say, "I'll do you one better than that--come on out to the mobile mansion and I'll introduce you."
Reza's got both his knees iced and a third ice pack resting on the right side of his groin area but still makes the effort to stand up and greet the man. "Oh don't get up for me," Eddie said, "you're the one that's been work'n all day."
"Thank you so much." Reza said.
Seeing all this, Eddie says, "Tell you what--I'm gonna let you stay for free. I want to help you guys out."
By this time, Kamran, the 18-wheel over-the-road driver has just arrived to drop us off a load of provisions from the Food Bazaar Market in Los Angeles. This is the third time Kamran has stopped to check up on us. He's drives a route between Wisconsin and Los Angeles so it's enabled him to rendezvous with us at various points along the way. From this point on we won't be seeing him as he always turns north at Oklahoma City. Can't tell you what a friend he's been to Reza and I along the way. He's always stopped for at least 2--3 hours to visit with us. The man's pure heart.
We spot the motor home (hook up the electrical, water, sewer and when available, cable line) and here comes Eddie. "How are you doing for money?" he asks.
"Well..." I say, "we've always been looked after."
"Are you taking donations? he asks."Well, yeah but you've already donated, Eddie!" I said.
"He's from Iran, right?" he asks.
"Yes." I said.
"Well my wife of 35 years died of cancer a year and a half ago and her doctor was from Pakistan. He took care of her for three and half months--sometimes he'd come out twice a day--it didn't matter. You know how much his bill was?" he asks.
I shook my head.
He held his right hand up and formed a circle with the index finger and what remained of an amputated thumb, "Zero." he said.
The hospital, however, wasn't so kind. "I didn't have no insurance; " he said "they took pretty much everything I had. The bill was $100,000. They took my farm, two rental units I had in town, a building I had and gesturing around the RV park he said, "This is all I've got left."
He pulls a ten-spot out of his wallet and goes to hand it to me and Reza says, "No, you can no give, you no business tonight." and sweeps his arm around toward all the empty spots in the RV park. Kindness killing kindness.
So that's the way it's been this whole trip. People like Eddie who don't have it to give--going ahead and giving anyway.
"I came into this world with nothing but skin so if I go out that way I guess that's alright." Eddie said. "I hope you guys make it good."