Project #365Aware

Be more aware of the people around you 365 days a year.
-If you received a card, please share your experience below-

I realized once again how much serving and being aware of those around you really lifts your spirits. Yesterday I had to take some old things to the DI in Layton, UT and I had some other wrapped gifts on the passenger seat. When I handed my bag of stuff over to the young men who were helping to collect, one of them noticed the presents on the seat and jokingly said, “Oh, I thought you were here to give us some Christmas gifts.” I just laughed and thanked him, then immediately thought of how he really does deserve a gift for volunteering to stand out in the cold, doing what is often a thankless job. So, I headed to Walmart across the street. When I entered the parking lot I saw a man on the corner holding a sign asking for “anything that helps”. I dashed quickly in to Walmart, grabbed a couple of giant Twix bars and a package of beef jerky. On my way out the door I tossed some coins into the Salvation Army jar. The homeless man was very grateful as I gave him the jerky. He said he was hungry standing out there in the cold. I could tell he was a very genuine person in need of some blessings. The young men at the DI were also surprised when I gave them the Twix bars. I told them to keep warm and headed home. It’s amazing how one good act, when followed through, can lead to another, and how that warm feeling stays in your heart the rest of the day. 


Lunchtime Friends

Today I had two job interviews in the same vicinity. I had some time to kill in between them, and I was hungry, so I went to Noodles & Co. for some lunch. It was packed, so there wasn’t exactly a whole lot of space to sit on my own. I sat next to a father and his son. I smiled and gave a little wave to the boy and he bashfully smiled back and told his dad that I said hi to him. I found out that the dad’s name is Eric, and the son’s name is Grady. Eric was a super friendly guy. He said, “You know, I am glad you’re okay with talking to strangers, because I’m an outgoing guy, but I don’t want to, you know, bother people while they’re eating.” I just laughed and told him I enjoy meeting new people too. He works from home  as a software developer, and thinks that all the time spent cooped up with no one but his kids and the computer has taken a toll on his social skills. I don’t think it has. He is from Arizona, and he could immediately tell that I was from California. He moved here because he was tired of the heat. I asked him jokingly if he was now tired of the cold yet.  I told him I was there for an interview at Alta View Elem, and he said that is where they might send their kids, and asked me about what I would do if I had a student who already knew the material but the school policy wouldn’t let him move up. I guess his older son is in that situation. We chatted for over half an hour. 

Talked to a girl named Jenny while playing volleyball. I knew she was in one of my classes but she didn’t because she always sits in front of me….kinda creepy of me, whatever. Utah State is her third school. She used to go to BYU-Hawaii and understandably really enjoyed it.


Met Josie at the basketball game. She is a self-proclaimed “ski bum.”


I was starving heading home tonight and decided in a moment of weakness to cheat on my diet at In-n-Out. While waiting inline my dog started barking mercilessly at something out in the darkness. I looked in the direction she was barking, to see a man getting ready to lay down on an old mattress on the side of the mattress store next door. 

'A way to redeem my weakness,' I thought. I was able to give my food to Jerry and give him a ride to where he said he could find a warmer place to sleep.  O and in the end MaMa (My dog) decided Jerry was a pretty nice guy.

Glad MaMa was being #365Aware

- Cam

Met a kid named Brayden at a ward I visited during Thanksgiving break. He goes to LDS Business College and hopes to go on a mission after next semester, and he is dating someone in Logan. He was super nice and genuine. From talking and listening to him I could tell he’s been through a lot, but has let his struggles be a motivation to do better and hasn’t made excuses. I was inspired.


Chatted with the guy working at Fanzz. He goes to Weber State and said he has “way too long” left to go in school. We talked about the Jazz and the NBA, and ultimately agreed that sleeves don’t belong on basketball jerseys.


Went to a wedding, met some girls that were friends of the bride. One goes to BYU-I; she is in the same major as me and knew my cousin who teaches there. The other two go to BYU, which is too bad. Another lady came to the table with her daughter and was talking about her son who was struggling on his mission. Turns out she lived only about a mile from me. She goes to Westminster, and it was clear that because she was older and a non-traditional student, she takes her education seriously, which I respect.

Later, I was at a play, and whilst dropping eaves on the convo behind me, I heard a girl say she was from North Carolina, which was where I served my mission, so I immediately perked up. (Picture a dog hearing a squirrel.) My friend was trying to talk me out of turning around, but I said, “Sorry, I have to.” I apologized to the girl for listening to her conversation (but wasn’t sorry), and asked where she was from. Turns out I served pretty close to where she was from. We had a good laugh as we realized we knew the same people, and the lady sitting next to her was in awe at the chances that this would happen. Then I asked the girl, Sarah, her last name, and realized I also knew her uncle and brother, whose ward I had been in. She definitely looked like her brother. Sarah goes to the University of Utah.

All my best 365s come when I eavesdrop. Social norms, shmocial shnorms…why pretend like there aren’t people around us?


Talked to Jack at Aggie Ice Cream today. I saw his name on his tag and made myself use it. (Why is there in irrational fear about calling someone by name? Isn’t that name tags are for? I’m weird.) Anyway, he was very genuine. He is a computer science major. He doesn’t have class on Tuesdays or Thursdays, so he went to Herm’s for breakfast this morning, which made me jealous. I told him I’ve heard good things about that place but have never been. He mentioned he is vegetarian and that they have a good veggie omelet there. We talked about vegetarian sandwiches.


Bought someone’s Wendy’s today in the drive-thru. I know for me, getting free food is one of the best things ever, so I figure it’s probably the same for other people too.


A couple reps for DHL came into the office. They were both wearing similarly checkered shirts. I asked them if they had decided today was checkered shirt day. “It just happened and all you can do is roll with it. So we’re choosing to rock it today.” Pretty chill guys.

-Braden (77)

A kid at my church named Duke initiated a conversation with me, he mentioned that we’ve come in contact before but he hasn’t really talked to me. I appreciated the gesture. He is studying to be an aerospace mechanic, and wants work on helicopters and in a smaller industry. He said he doesn’t want to have to deal with unions. I’m always equal parts inspired and depressed when I meet people like this that have exponentially more ambition than I. 


Talked with Trae at Harmon’s. He only had a few hours til quitting time. 

-Braden (76)

Today I chatted briefly with Adam. He was standing outside at In N Out. It was pretty chilly today so I brought up the fact that he was probably freezing. Turns out he wasn’t that cold after all. I guess I was just a wuss today.

-Braden (75)

Met a new face at church, Spencer, today. He is a first cousin once removed of our 2nd counselor. Worked up in Idaho all summer and moved back home now that it’s winter. 

-Braden (74)