What I will tell you about is a special experience we had in the middle of that drive...
I remember sitting quietly in the car, staring out the window, ipod on (of course), thinking about the film and different ideas I've been playing aroundwith. In the middle of my semi-hazy daydream, my eyes fixated on a group of leather wrapped bikers standing on the side of the road. Im not quite sure why, but the moment I saw them I yelled "stop!" I needed to get out and talk to them...I knew they would have something interesting to say about female bullying. Besides, part of this film is exposing how this issue translates across the country--within different communities and with different types of people. I knew theirs would be an interesting perspective.
I cautiously approached the 7 (very large) men with Chris and Doloris (the camera). I wasn't scared or anything, but, I didn't know if they would have any interest in talking with us about this issue. As I approached the guys I noticed they were all staring at me. I felt a bit awkward because the walk over to them was a kinda long...so...I decided to break the silence by waving my arm in the air and yelling "Hello! I come in peace!" They immediately smiled and waved back :)
The guys were really curious about what was
going on (our very colorful mode of transportation tends to get people wondering.) I informed them of our journey and what Kind Campaign and Finding Kind are all about. Their reaction was exaaaactly what I was hoping for. They all related to the issue and had some very interesting and profound things to say about female friendships. A few of the guys have daughters as well...one of them has three so he really connected with the message. I remember what one of the guys said about his friends, "We are brothers. Men have brothers. There aren't real sisters out there and it's just sad." Well put.
After the interviews we all chatted for a while and took funny pictures. There was a lot of laughter and great moments. Such cools guys...
Although they had a ton of amazing (and funny) things to say about this issue, the conversation eventually turned and they informed us of what their journey was all about. We came to find out that this was the fourth anniversary of the passing of one of the guy's sons. Every year the father and 6 of his "brothers" ride their motorcycles out to the spot where Jake died and have a service for him. Jake died in a car accident one week before his 21st birthday. His fiance was on the back of the bike but she thankfully survived. We were all hit really hard by this story...especially after finding this out after 20 minutes of casual conversation and laughter.
The father started to walk over to the site where his son had died. As he began to walk over, he invited my mom and the rest of us to join him and his friends. I wasn't sure if he was just trying to be nice...I didn't want to intrude on such a monumental and serious moment for him. However, his friends insisted that we join them in the celebration of Jakes life. We crossed the street and stood around his tomb...7 bikers and the Kind Campaign crew.
I couldn't help but feel humbled while standing there. The precious nature of our lives became so loud within that silence, as we stood there looking at his tomb, surrounded by the mountains and the trees and the sky. It was such a beautiful moment. To share something that sacred with a group of people who were complete strangers 30 minutes prior...I duno. I guess it really got me thinking about how we are all connected and how our capacity to love one another is enormously great. I truly felt like our two groups of completely "different" people connected on a whole other level... a level that you find when you take the time to value and respect the people around you.
As we stood there and listened to Jakes father and the rest of the guys say their piece, I couldn't help but tear up. Since they invited us over to their service with our camera, we have it all on tape. I asked Jakes father if he would mind us using that special moment in the film--as a testament to his son. He smiled wide with tears in his eyes and told me that he would really appreciate that. I can't wait to do that for him.
As I said before, I can't help but constantly remind myself that these experiences are one in a million.