In Honor of Dr. Steve Byers

I have traveled to India and Italy with Dr. Byers.  It is always an adventure.  He has taught me to get out and explore the neighborhood and see the sights.  Usually when I travel alone I rent a car.  But the hotel offered free transportation from the airport so I decided to let my feet do the transportation.  I am staying in the homeland of Apple computers, where everything Jobs exists.  Before leaving my home in Wisconsin I checked into the tourist site for Cupertino to see what I could expect.

The tourism board for Cupertino needs a little assistance.  Not a whole lot to do in Jobs backyard.  I would have expected a iPark or something – what I was reading just couldn’t be true.  I had to see for myself.  So I headed out after breakfast to check out the area.  Thankfully, the rain from the day before had cleared up and although the wind was brisk, this Wisconsin girl felt right at home.

The first thing I noticed was the lawns, or lack there of.  The homes were nice, but in place of grass where many paved over areas, some rock gardens, and even one that was completely English ivy – that was my favorite.  Many apartments make up the Cupertino area and the population has a heavy 54% Asian heritage.  This is obvious in the food choices, many Indian, Sushi and Panda Express stores in the area.  Apparently I brought the wrong son.  My older son would have loved this area.  I was happy to see a McDonald’s which will keep the son I brought fed and me out of trouble.

My walk was not without incident.  I did have a chance to meet the Cupertino police department.  I guess my Midwestern style of walking when traffic clears and ignoring the traffic lights isn’t a good idea in California.  They don’t take lightly to jay-walkers.  Thankfully, my Wisconsin drivers license saved the day and I was able to avoid the $500 ticket with just a warning.

Before I headed back to the hotel (the rain clouds were threatening again) I stopped at a grocery store for some Sprite and cookies (the diet of a 17 year old).  I met a wonderful store employee named Tom S.  He was the bagger at my check out and truly made my day.  Tom S. was the most pleasant person I had found.  Talking to me about my earrings – I wore my “power of three” earrings – and warning me about the draw of the lottery machine.  I assured him I was only purchasing a $1 ticket.  He was happy, but reminded me that so many play but only one person wins.  Thanks Tom – for keeping me in line.  Tom S. is what is right with this world.  He enjoys his job and is pleasant to the customers.  He didn’t care that I had just been for a 2 hour walk and my hair was a mess from the wind, or that this pale Wisconsin native was in his part of town, no Tom S. was sure to thank me for stopping in to the store.

It is always nice to meet individuals with in the community they live that are just proud to be working and happy to share a smile with a stranger.  Tom S. was special needs and was working just as hard as the others in the store, but he was the only one to meet me in the eye, talk a bit, and leave a lasting impression.

I am going to return to the store later in the week when supplies run low, I hope that Tom S. is working so I can gain strength from his smile and know the world is a good place.

Thank you Dr. Byers for teaching me a valuable lesson.  Had I rented a car I probably would have traveled further to find things to do, but

on this day

I got some sunshine,

some exercise,

and made a friend.

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