WAT’S UP – Adam Sawatsky

Cross-town run leaves joyful feeling

I didn’t plan to go for a run through four neighbourhoods. But when John started driving his red mobility scooter down the one-way Fort Street, I knew I’d have to chase him on foot or we’d lose him. I had been hoping to do an interview with John for a-year-and-a-half. He’s the happiest person I have ever met and I thought he’d be a perfect person to profile at the end of our six o’clock newscast.

When I finally caught up with him, John smiled the most amazing smile you’ve ever seen, and agreed to an interview. He said he was hungry though, and his hands were cold, so he didn’t have time to stop. So I kept running after him and texting the videographer in the truck with updates on our location. I thought we could document John’s commute home and show how he interacts with the people he passes. John seems to have a limited vocabulary but the words he uses have limitless, positive impact. As I ran after him from Oak Bay junction to downtown, through Cook Street Village, he would introduce himself with that big smile, and look deep into strangers’ eyes and tell them they were beautiful. The reason John would be so good on screen is because you can see how his unexpected words transform the faces of the people he’d say them to. People who may not usually feel beautiful seem to feel that way in John’s presence.

The videographer finally caught up with us as John turned his scooter into Beacon Hill Park, and started running along.  Unfortunately, there were no people there for John to interact with.  Instead, he seemed to be singing to the peacocks he passed. He also kept smiling at the videographer – who was running with a 30-pound camera – and asking if he was OK. Although our lungs, muscles and pounding hearts were feeling anything but OK, we felt wonderful being with John. By the time we reached his home in James Bay, I (who don’t do much exercise at all) had run more than five kilometers. John looked deep in our eyes, smiled and opened his arms for a hug. We happily accepted. He told us we were beautiful.  The pain from the run disappeared. Then John reminded us he was hungry and his hands were cold and he drove away with a wave. Although we didn’t get the TV story we hoped for, we were grateful to have witnessed the work of a man committing random acts of joy.

Adam Sawatsky is an anchor at CTV News Vancouver Island. On the weekend, he hosts ‘Eye on the Arts’ on CFAX 1070.

 

Just Posted

Canada’s country music sweetheart brings The Gumboot Kids to town

Jessie Farrell to perform songs from her hit CBC TV series at McTavish Academy of Arts

VIFF wrap-up: Finely crafted films part of festival finale

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells puts a cap on his 2018 Vancouver International Film Festival experience

FILM REVIEWS: Race relations, refugees and racy romances featured at VIFF

Monday reviewer Kyle Wells presents round 2 from the Vancouver International Film Fest

An eye for art: The new and the notable at fall’s premier arts event

Sidney Fine Art Show shares wealth of Island talent Oct. 11 to 13

Astrocolor bringing unique funk-synth sound to the Capital Ballroom

Victoria band known for their festival shows making a rare appearance on their home turf

VIDEO: Ballet Kelowna brings steamy story, A Streetcar Named Desire, to Island

Okanagan ballet company brings a classic tale to the Cowichan Valley

INDY FILM FARE: 1970s hedonism and more at The Vic Theatre

From Studio 54 to Rocky Horror, there’s plenty of excess to observe this month

Shark-attack metal band coming to Victoria tonight

Shark Infested Daughters, a Calgary metalcore group, play the Upstairs Cabaret tonight, Oct. 13

STAGE AND SONG: Spotlight on Victoria arts groups

Learn about some of the city’s favourite theatre and musical entertainment options

Island lensman Jim Decker lands three top photography awards

During exciting photo trip to Yap in Micronesia, Cobble Hill man earns trio of firsts

Celebrate Oktoberfest Stein and Dine at the Victoria Public Market

Food, suds and German-style fun on tap at Oct. 20 event

Most Read