Sunday, July 1, 2012

Make a Wish with Geoffrey the Giraffe

Working as a freelance artist doesn't quite pay the bills yet, so I dabble in a few other money making ventures.  
My Grandpa called this "having fingers in many different pies".  At least I think that's what he used to say.  I might not be remembering correctly, because that looks a little weird.  Anyway, one of my jobs involves doing the signage at a popular toy store, or sometimes unloading a truck, or decorating bulletin boards, or anything else you can think of.

Last Friday, I had a different task for the afternoon: a special visitor was coming to shop with the toy store mascot, and I was going to be his helper.  Since the mascot can't exactly talk, or really defend himself against middle school boys that like to pull his tail and run away laughing, he needs a keeper.  Our special shopper was Oliver, a little boy battling a form of cancerous tumor called Neuroblastoma.  For his six birthday, he asked the Make A Wish Foundation for a shopping spree at the toy store.

Even though the heat was practically melting our skin (especially the mascot and his furry coat), we stood outside  with Oliver's excited fans under this giant sign made by my friend Steven, anxiously watching for the guest of honor. When the limo pulled up with Oliver and his family, he couldn't wait to jump out and give the mascot a big hug.
For a couple of hours, I tagged along as Oliver led the friendly mascot by the hand to each of the isles and checked out all of the toys.  They looked at LEGOs together, played with swords, and enjoyed the star treatment.  I got to help him find things and fill cart after cart with games, action figures, and movies.
Above - Oliver describes what Power Ranger he is looking for while his mom and I follow 
(Photo from

When Oliver was almost too tired to stand up (and probably the mascot, too) it was time to check out.  Mitch helped the procession of carts make its way back to the limo (I have never seem so much stuff go home with one family, not even at Christmas).
After a few goodbye hugs, a sleepy Oliver was tucked back into the limo and whisked away to Chuck E Cheese for lunch.

I think this was one of the coolest experiences ever.  How many people get to be part of a child's Make a Wish experience?  It was so inspiring and gave me a new outlook on my not-so-thrilling part-time jobs.  If I wasn't working here, I would have never been able to participate in this.  I don't want this post to take a cheesy, sentimental turn, but it was kind of an emotional experience.  I need to remember that everything offers an opportunity to take something great away from it.  I just have to have that mindset. :)   Here is a video of the story from fox17online.

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