No More Mr. Nice Guy
Christian thought it was going to just be another long shift at that hotel desk. It seemed like a pretty good gig for a musician who was trying to raise the money for another album recording. His band, The Someone, was hoping to be able to get the finances together quickly in this small, northern Alberta oil city. They were working there to make money and move on.Like most people that have had to make split second decisions, Christian wasn’t expecting what would happen that night. Working at the front desk of this small hotel meant many long hours with little excitement. So when they first walked in, he thought it was odd to see, but didn’t think much more of it. It was three guys and a young girl, about 14 or 15 years old. She was dressed up way too much and out way too late. They walked past the front desk and down the hallways towards one of the hotel rooms.Two hours later, when he looked up from the desk, it was now early in the morning and the hotel was dead quiet. No one was moving anywhere, and that is why it shocked him so much to see her standing there. She was scared, she had been crying, and she was wrapped up in a sheet. She didn’t know where she was and she didn’t know where else to turn. Christian did what he could to calm her down as he called 911. It was the middle of the winter in Northern Alberta, so without a second thought he wrapped his jacket around her as the police showed up to take her somewhere safe. As it all calmed down and he was left there in the aftershock of everything he had just witnessed the reality of what had happened sank in. He had just witnessed something that millions of women and children around the world are subject to endlessly – exploitation. And it wasn’t ok. He wasn’t ok with being silent about it – he had to be a voice.Shortly after that night, The Someone Band finished up their album and moved to Hamilton, Ontario to tour with LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute). As a band their goal is to reach students with the message that their lives are valuable and that they matter. As an individual, Christian is sure of what he wants his life message to be. Throughout our LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) Think Day presentations, different team members are able to share their personal stories and when he steps on the stage, he is a man on a mission. He shares that experience, and he encourages young women that they are not objects. They do not have to stay silent when they have experienced abuse, and they are worth more. It’s the message that many girls need to hear, because silence can hold them captive in pain and shame. And that is injustice.No one knows what led that girl to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, what lies she believed, or how she was coerced. The only thing anyone can know is that she was one of the lucky ones to walk away and to live in a place where there could be safety and help. She needed someone like Christian working at that front desk that night. Someone who was willing to care.Compassion happens in many shapes and forms and we never know when we will be given the opportunity to let it shine in our lives and choices. Christian’s story is one that challenges the common thought in our world: that it’s ok to look the other way. It’s not. As he stands there and encourages victims to get help, he also challenges others to open up their eyes and see what is happening around them, because each of us can make the difference between life and death.LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s Think Day presentation is not just about motivating teenagers to make good choices – it’s about pushing them to think about the value and power of their lives and their decisions. That each one of us can change the world, starting where we are at today.To find out more about how to get LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute)’s Think Day into your local high school, how to get involved, or how to help us do what we do better and reach more students, please check out www.livedifferent.com.