Monday, December 18, 2023

He Became One of My Heroes

The “Little Caesars Dancing Man” worked tirelessly, spinning his sign on the corner of Antelope and Main. Regardless of how hard his job must’ve been, he beamed, so happy and ALWAYS kind.

My kids were still quite little, and they’d smile and point as he’d spin the sign on his foot and flip it over his head. We saw him from our car nearly every day, and no matter what kind of crappy mood I’d been in, this stranger would always make my day better.
In fact, I received some really bad news one particular afternoon, but as I drove home, I spotted the #LittleCaesars Dancing Man, just rockin’ away to some unheard beat. The light turned red, so I continued watching his complete exuberance for life. I fully realized then; he's perpetually happy even though he's out there, working in the blistering sun or the freezing cold. He waves back and smiles. You’d think he didn’t have a worry in the world, but in actuality, he must have been so tired.

That day, I turned right instead of going straight home, parked by the dancing man, and decided to finally meet him.

“I’m Raymond.” He grinned, offering me his hand.

“I’m Elisa!” I smiled and knew an awesome friendship had begun. Then I told him what an inspiration he is—how he might not know it, but he makes life better every day for people like me and my family. He grew quiet, and I thought the words meant far more than I knew.

When I got home, I friend requested Raymond through Facebook and blogged about my experience.

A couple of weeks later, I received a letter from Little Caesars’ corporate office across the country. They’d actually read my blog and sent two $20 gift cards! They had one request: for me to keep a card and give one to someone else. I remember reading the letter in the post office, then I gave the second gift card to the post office employee, John. He said the story was even better than the money!

The whole experience felt surreal at the time. And to think, if I’d never stopped that day, I would’ve missed out on the whole adventure. 

Raymond and I became friends for well over 10 years. I watched him experience good and bad times—and he smiled the whole way through… just like he used to when he danced for Little Caesars. Then, in 2020, after doctors diagnosed me with terminal cancer, he became one of my biggest advocates, sending me encouraging messages and kind words when I needed them the most. Who would’ve thought all this would start after I saw him spinning a sign on the corner of Antelope and Main? Life is such a miracle.

I’ve had the most wonderful people, like Raymond Lowery, come into my life over the years and show me how to be strong, smile when life is the hardest, and keep going against all the odds. 

Rest in peace, dear friend. You made such a positive impact on my life. I think you did that for everyone you met though. You, well, Raymond… you were incredible. Put in a good word for me, all right? Maybe save a seat for me in Heaven? 💓 


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