Charity breakfast unites

At random by Graeme Corbett

I had quite a surreal breakfast experience Thursday morning.

I had to drop off some product to my girlfriend’s booth at the Vernon Farmers’ Market on my way to work, and as such, I was running short on time to grab breakfast.

I had originally planned to hit up one of the food vendors at the market, but Terryn suggested I head to the United Way Drive-Thru Breakfast at the Best Western Vernon Lodge, and I’m glad I did. Not only did I get to support a great charity, but I also happened across an eclectic cross-section of people I had met, both personally and professionally, in the six years I’ve been living in the Okanagan.

It was one of those moments where you just smile and say to yourself “small world.”

After weaving my way around the parking lot (being directed by a small army of smiling, waving volunteers), I came to the first, and possibly the most important, stop.

“Coffee?”

“Yes please. Black, no sugar.”

The man ran off to a table and returned seconds later with a cup of Tim Hortons, after which I was greeted by a window washing tandem, who dutifully scrubbed my windshield clean. A nice touch, I have to say, because my car sure needed it.

Next in line was my next door neighbour, Jon Manchester, who also happens to be the editor of our rival publication, The Daily Courier. We exchanged grins as he handed me a copy of his publication (it never hurts to know what your competition is up to).

Also in the lineup of greeters was the brother-in-law of a close friend, along with RCMP Supt. Reg Burgess, who was head of the Lake Country detachment when I first broke into journalism with the Lake Country Calendar.

I still remember the day I covered an assignment of Reg giving a safety talk to a group of day schoolers in Oyama. He isn’t the biggest guy, but Reg seemed like a giant as he crouched to get down to the toddlers’ level to give his talk. And you could tell they were in awe. A lot of kids seem to have the attention span of a goldfish, but these ones were transfixed on this guy wearing the fancy uniform.

I’m surprised the cops didn’t think I was on something because I had a perma-grin stuck on my face by that point. It was like the Best Western parking lot had been transformed into my own personal memory lane.

This all probably sounds a bit overstated because most of the people I’m talking about would be considered acquaintances at best. But whether they know it or not, they have all had some affect or minor influence in my life. At the very least, enough to occupy space in my memory bank.

It also made me pause and wonder what effect, no matter how small or trivial, I have had on other random lives.

What do people think of when they see me in some arbitrary encounter?

I had actually started the day in somewhat of a foul mood, and this completely changed it. And all because I felt I had a connection to, or memories of, the people I was seeing.

Around the next turn I reached the final stop in my drive-thru experience and was handed my breakfast bag by mayor Wayne Lippert.

I must have just missed my photo op because Morning Star photographer Lisa VanderVelde was just walking back to her car as I pulled up. It was kind of fitting to see her last, as it brought me full circle to my current position at the paper.

All this happened in the span of about two minutes. Talk about life flashing before your eyes.

– Graeme Corbett is a sports write for The Morning Star. He writes a rotating At Random column for the newspaper.