In the very first article in the Be Pedestrian column we wrote
The word pedestrian can serve as a noun or as an adjective. While the adjective use of this term is often a pejorative, we are quite fond of this overlap of identity and have intentionally entitled this section, which we intend to include every week, ‘Be Pedestrian.’ We intend it as a charge to embrace the everydayness of ordinary neighborliness experienced as a pedestrian of Tampa’s streets, sidewalks, and trails.
This week we want to share an extraordinary story about a dude who, at least for a short time, was a pedestrian cyclist riding Tampa’s Streets.
Meet Eric Gillman.
First a bit of backstory. Eric has a close friend, Andy Jeanty, that was born in Haiti and moved to the US when he was 17. They are both members of the Cutco Hall of Fame and had been working and traveling the world together for over a decade. In 2010, after a massive 7.2 magnitude earthquake stuck the island of Haiti he reached out to Eric for some help. The mission was simple, or at least they thought it was. Build a fully functional and much needed medical clinic in the city of Jacmel, Haiti. There initial estimate was that it would take 1-2 years and could be done for $100K. In reality they embarked on a 6 year journey and raised over $1M and constructed the clinic themselves working alongside Hatian builders. On the 7-year anniversary of the earthquake, they hosted the Grand Opening of the Angel Wings Clinic. He told us that that was one of the best days of his life!
After delivering 915 babies last year alone they have set their sights on raising funds to both sustain the clinic's operations as well as building a maternity ward for that specific need.
Eric launched a campaign and set off and an incredible journey to make it happen. He launched Eric Rides for Hope to raise 250k and is riding his bicycle from Miami Florida to San Diego California! He has been hitting up bike shops along his route to stop in for some gear, encouragement, and bike maintenance. Last week Eric arrived in Tampa and stopped at WellBuilt Bikes for a quick tune up and to spend a little time with the team there. While in the shop they asked him to record a little video to share about the project and he recorded in right on the spot. Here is the clip on their Instagram.
There was one other customer in the shop who overheard him recording it and was obviously intrigued with what he was saying. When Eric stopped recording Dan Herbeck walked over to him and started up a conversation. In an unbelievable coincidence Dan is getting ready to ride his bike from Minnesota to Guatemala to raise money for a clinic in Guatemala later this year! It was such an incredible connection of mutual drive and passion. Everyone in the shop was blown away by this fortuitous meeting and couldn’t help but have a sense of the caliber and quality of the kinds of folks that frequent WellBuilt Bikes.
After this amazing scene, Eric set off on his bike again. You can follow Eric’s journey here and donate to his fundraiser here. It’s incredible what an everyday pedestrian can accomplish when they choose to!
Until next time, be pedestrian.