Playing in Traffic (2020 Lions Candy Day) – 10/9-10/20

“Why don’t you go play in traffic?”

I’m sure you’ve all heard that in the past. And you’ve probably said to others. But that’s exactly what I was doing the last two days. All to help support the local Lions Club!

I became a Lion in 2015, and volunteered to help with their Candy Day for the first time in 2015 or 2016. Because of my vision, the prospect of being out in traffic was a little bit scary that first year. But because most were respectful (not trying to run into me or push me into oncoming traffic), it worked out well and I was hooked.

This year was at least my 5th year out on the streets near North Central College (NCC) in downtown Naperville. As in the past, I was able to volunteer for both days because of community service initatives that my current employer supports. I am extremely grateful for and appreciative of that!

Because of the current conditions, we were all in full PPE (masks and gloves) throughout the collection period. I believe that helped people in their cars feel more comfortable about rolling down their windows to donate. And with the lower numbers overall, I’m sure that that decision helped out overall.

Prior to this year, Friday was an almost constant stream of cars and people. Whether it was students going to NNHS/NCC, the commercial traffic or people going about their normal tasks, I would say a vehicle would come through the intersection every 3-5 seconds. And there was also the pedestrian traffic as NCC students walked to / from classes and dorms. Past Saturdays were roughly the same, but without as much commercial traffic. There would be even more pedestrian traffic on Saturday if there was a home football game. But of course, this year was different.

On Friday, the early morning was slower than in years past. But it did start to pick up to normal levels by about 10AM. And starting at about 2PM it was back to ‘normal’ Friday levels. On Saturday, after a couple of brief spurts in the late morning, things really seemed to slow down. Even though traffic wasn’t as heavy throughout the two days I was out there, I did notice people being more generous. So it may have evened out overall. We’ll see in the next couple weeks what the final numbers show.

One of the downsides of it being much slower on Saturday was that I ended up standing in one place for long stretches of time. This meant that by about 1:30 PM, my back was starting to spasm. From that point through about 3:30, I did what I could to try and stretch it every 30-40 cars. But by 3:30, it was painful enough that I had to take a walk to try and relieve it. Even though I was in a great deal of pain, I wasn’t going to tap out. Thankfully, the walk helped and I was able to make it through the last part of the day.

While there were a lot of generous people (including the two who said ‘this [large bill] is all I have, so that’s what you’re going to get.’, there were still the normal share of assholes. This included an 18 wheel truck that seemed to want to play chicken with me in the road on Friday. I get it, not everyone wants to donate. No one is forcing you to, and in fact there’s enough space to where you can just stay right to go past us. However, to try and push me into oncoming lanes of traffic is just absurd. And while I deal with this BS every year, I will still be out there year after year.

I am grateful to everyone who came out and donated throughout the past two days. I believe Lions will be at Casey’s today if you want to donate in person. You can also donate online here. Or if you’d prefer to support the Naperville Noon Lions Club in other ways, you can do so by:

Registering for their Virtual Turkey Trot.
Purchasing Raffle Tickets for their annual raffle.
Purchasing Poinsettias and Amaryllis bulbs.

** For the Poinsettias and Amaryllis bulbs, delivery is only available within the Naperville area. **

I will be doing the virtual 5K to support them. Read more by clicking here (Gobble Virtually blog)!

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