Day 38 - Ryan (1st person I approached)
February 07, 2014 - I have to start today’s story with a bit of ‘back story.’ While each day, and each “stranger” is unique, today was a first for me, and entirely unexpected. It went like this:
ME: Hey, can I chat with you for a minute?
RYAN: Sure, what’s up?
ME: My name is Colin, and I’m writing a piece for a project I’m doing called The Stranger Project 2014, where I…
RYAN: Oh my god! That's you?! I love what you’re doing, I’ve been following along since you started that page!!
Ryan was born and raised in Surrey, and while he moved around a bit, it’s always been within the lower mainland. Surrey, Delta, Burnaby, East Van, Kitsilano and then back to Surrey again. Ryan told me an amazing story about growing up. "I made some bad choices and got involved with some of the wrong people,” while in high-school. He got expelled a few times, to the point where schools within his residential district didn’t want him attending their schools. Ryan wasn’t involved with drugs, or stealing, no breaking the law, but he used to get into a lot of physical fights. “I did it to pump up myself, to feel tough, and to basically impress a group of people I thought I wanted to be around.” When Ryan found it difficult to get into a school near his home, he managed to get accepted into a school in the Coquitlam region, where he has a lot of relatives. That’s when things changed for him. “It was different there, the other kids were interested in sports, and activities and classes. There wasn’t the same peer pressure, people did what they wanted to and felt more confident about the things they did. It changed for the better for me. I no longer got into fights, because no one cared about that where I was going to school then.”
Ryan is a driven young man, working three jobs. He has a full-time job working for local gaming company, EA Games. And in his spare time, holds two other part-time jobs. What struck me the most about Ryan, was that when he was telling me about his work, and we got to his third job, he said “My third job is my passion. It’s the thing I want to do for my job, for the rest of my life, I love it so much.” Ryan had had a part time job as a journalist with an online Mixed Martial Arts website (FACT CHECK: http://www.lowkickmma.com).
While writing reviews at a local convention, Ryan “got the courage and confidence to approach someone that I knew was involved in staging MMA and UFC events here in town. So I went up and asked him if there was anyway that I could get involved, setting up the ring, or helping out. Anything to be involved. I really wanted to be the ring announcer, the one who introduces the guys before each event. He said he already had it all covered, but gave me some tickets to attend the next event for free. I went along, and the person that they had doing the Ring announcing wasn’t working out. So between rounds, he came up to me and asked if I was still interested, and I took over, there and then. I had brought along a dress shirt and good shoes, just in case, I like to be prepared. I quickly noted down some notes, got into the ring and went with it. I’ve been doing Ring announce ever since, and it truly is my passion. I love it! I love the sport, the dedication, and all the hard work that these guys put into it.”
Ryan had been waiting to meet his date when I approached him, and like the gentleman he’s grown into, after texting her once to say he’d be an extra five minutes “cause I’m actually talking with the guy from The Stranger Project,” he said, “I’m sorry, I really have to get going. Sorry. It’s been so nice meeting you!” How could anyone begrudge a gentleman for not wanting to keep his lady waiting? #notastranger