Let’s just say it was over 20 years ago, at just about this time of the year, that I rented the smallest U-Haul known to man…the only one my little Ford Escort could tow…and ventured off to the unknown land of Texas. Well, unknown to me anyway as I had no family and only knew one friend from college there. But, hey, I wanted to pursue my dream of teaching at one of the best school districts in the United States- Plano Independent School District. This 21 year-old traveler quickly learned a few things about Texas: (1) You really should have a car with air conditioning, (2) you can buy anything in the shape of Texas…literally anything, and (3) nearly every radio station played country music.
The purchase of my first brand new car solved my air conditioning problem and for some reason Texas-shaped tortilla chips really did taste better; I can’t explain it. But, as a Midwest twenty-something, growing up with classic rock-and-roll, I just could not believe there were actually entire radio stations dedicated to twangy, Wrangler-wearin’, pick-up truck havin’, cowboys. I mean, people actually had country stations programmed into their car radios. Seriously. That’s when this Midwestern girl went on a scavenger hunt for some real music and found it on Kiss FM 106.1 in Dallas/Ft. Worth. They not only played hit music, but they had Kidd Kraddick in the Morning. Kidd drove to work with me each day in the chaos of Dallas traffic. He became a constant in my life at a time when I was rather lonely in the Lone Star State. He’d make me laugh in an empty car and laugh again when I thought about it later that day. And, my friends, if laughter is good medicine, he was Dr. Kraddick. Although I never met him in person, Kidd Kraddick felt like a friend. Which I guess explains why I was so genuinely sad to learn on Saturday night that he had passed away at the young age of 53.
When I heard that he was at a golf outing raising money for his Kidd’s Kids non-profit organization, it didn’t surprise me. Kidd truly had a heart the size of Texas and a passion for chronically ill and physically challenged children to go with it. His foundation raised enough money from his many radio listeners, corporate sponsors, and annual fundraisers to send up to 50 kids and their families to enjoy every child’s rite of passage…Walt Disney World. Although impossible, it made me think that Leonardo da Vinci must have had Kidd in mind when he said, “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to let things happen to me when I know I can go out and happen to things! Yes, Kraddick had enough celebrity that he could start his own Foundation and impact hundreds of lives each year. But, his listeners simply made donations. And, his corporate partners like the Orlando Magic and Southwest Airlines did a bit more because their capacity for giving was more robust. But, true generosity typically involves variety like that.
It reminds me of the new PBJ 2.0. Have you heard of it? It’s so awesome! One slice of bread holds a horizontal trio of jelly, honey, and marshmallow cream. The other slice contains a vertical trinity of crunchy peanut butter, Nutella, and creamy peanut butter. When you close it you get 9 different flavor combinations! Nine! Something for everyone.
Generosity is just like that. There really is something for everyone. Find what you’re passionate about and give. Big, small. Weekly, annually. Time, money. Publicly, privately. To an established fund at the Foundation, to a fund that you start on your own.
The key is to make it personal. That’s what Kidd Kraddick did. And, I like to think that he’s up in heaven looking down on us today and wishing we’d all continue his example of generosity…and hopeful that we’d cut that PBJ 2.0 in the shape of Texas…as it should be.