159/365 – people to thank who have had an impact on me. This past year – well actually the last 5 months, I spent time reflecting on all sorts of people who have had an impact on me. Many were from my career in teaching, others from family and still others from my youth. One person that I hadn’t thought about for a long time was Gary I. I worked with Gary at McDonald’s when I was in my mid to late teens. I didn’t have many friends growing up and Gary and I didn’t start off as friends but over the course of work, friendship developed especially given that I was host (working in the lobby organizing children’s birthday parties or just talking to patrons) and Gary was the “lobby boy” (person cleaning the restaurant area) for many of my shifts. Yes, we did the not so good things of sneaking extra food for ourselves, taking longer breaks than normal and just having laughs on the shift. A group of McDonaldites started socializing outside of work and I ended up being on the periphery – not always invited but so grateful when I was. Gary and a few regulars would be there and the group did what teenagers do – hangout, maybe have the occasional beer, go to movies downtown, go to parties. I felt included and Gary was an integral part of this. I recall one time that we had a McDonald’s car rally and Gary, myself and on other girl were grouped together. We were driving around Richmond picking up clues and one of the items required was raspberries. We were on the smaller roads with big ditches (# 6 Road) and Gary didn’t time a turn correctly and the next thing we hear him say is “We’re in the ditch”. He was right, we just landed nice and neatly, no injuries in the ditch and the car started to fill up with water. Bit of shock but we all climbed out of the trunk and onto the road and the first thing that Gary said that I was thinking – “Raspberries” – yup, huge raspberry bushes in the ditch. We started laughing. Got the car towed but of course showed up late at the end. I have many great memories with Gary who helped me come out of my shell and made some of my youth enjoyable. I looked him up in my late 20s to reconnect and thank him but was saddened and shocked to learn that he had passed away. This gratitude post is in your honour and to recognize you Gary for being one of my first friends as a teenager. Cheers to you in heaven!