Birthdays, Heroes, and Bottle Drives

You know all of that bad news you see on the boob tube or read in the paper? It’s not true. Or rather, it’s not representative of the real truth. At least not in my world.

For example, I got a call the other day. “Hi it’s Mia Frankl,” said the person on the other end. “I volunteered at the Threshold Housing event.”

Mia Frankl with Paul Latour after the story

“Terrific,” I said.

“I’ve got some money for you,” she announced.

“Really? Double terrific!”

“Yeah, I did a bottle drive with a few friends and I wonder if we can meet for a coffee so I can give it to you?”

Two days later we met. I recognized her immediately as one of the really keen volunteers who seemed to have boundless amounts of enthusiasm and energy. She gave me a big bear hug and flashed an even bigger smile.

Over a mocha and a tea she told me her story.

A few weeks back it was her birthday. But this year instead of having a big party as she had in the past, she decided do a bottle drive for HeroWork. A go-getter, she called all of her friends who would have come to the party and enlisted their support. One man in particular stepped up. His name is Brandon Atkinson and he had a truck and a ton of friends in Shawnigan. On their first Saturday of the drive, they filled three trucks in two and a half hours! Mia, Brandon and Sarah Davies (another amazing helper!) headed to Duncan to sort their bounty; when they arrived the parking lot was jammed full of cars and the depot was full of people.

Brandon went to find some carts. He managed only one. Mia and Sarah looked at the empty cart and then at the hundreds of bottles they had collected. “That’s not going to cut it,” they said.

“What do you want to do?” said Brandon.

After a moment’s reflection they agreed – “Let’s just start.”


Sarah Davies and a whole pile of empties!

And that was it. One step at a time they took inspired action. It took them much longer than they thought unloaded and sort, but they went back for more, and more. Then they did it again for a second weekend. And a third.

At the coffee shop Mia showed me the thick stack of receipts she collected.

Holy smokes, I thought. What kind of person spends her birthday doing a bottle-drive without even telling the people she’s doing the bottle-drive for?

“How much did you raise,” I asked.

She handed me an envelope. I opened it. My jaw dropped a little.

“$624.00” she smiled.

I couldn’t believe it. I fill my car I get back $14. How many times did she keep going back and forth?

“I want to do another in the summer,” she said. “I learned a lot from this one and have a goal to raise $5000 for the next one. Is that okay?”

“Are you joking?” I stuttered.

The truth is that when I look around I see a beautiful place full of beautiful people. People like Mia, Brandon, Sarah and the friends who donated their empties. People who put themselves aside to make our world a better place. People who do what they can. People who “just start.”

Thanks Mia. You’ve inspired me and touched my heart.

If you also think Mia is amazing, leave a comment and say so 🙂

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