Wednesday 18th January 2012, Las Vegas
I could smell gas and burning hair and the next thing I know we are 200 yards up in the air in a fucking wicker basket. It was so quiet and still and it seemed like the earth was accelerating away from us, rather than the other way round.
It had sounded like a great idea at the time and I'd signed up for the hot air balloon ride along with a vicar called Eli. We were looking forward to enjoying Nevada's amazing natural landscape but we were driven to a patch of wasteland in an LA suburb, between a busy freeway and a sprawling hospital complex. No matter we would soon be up, up and away in a beautiful balloon, high above the awesome red rocks of Nevada, right? Well, no actually. We kind of shot up, floated across the hospital and drifted down to an unused car park where the local freak was banging on about ancient lizards. The smug and over-confident pilot told some dull ballooning stories and all I got out of it was a singed scalp and sore fingers from clinging to the wicker.
Eli and I bonded over our mediocre experience and I told him about Wearelucky. Perhaps unsurprisingly, not many things like that happen in Las Vegas. The vicar wanted in.
Questions & Answers
1. What were your first thoughts and feelings when propositioned with Wearelucky?
I felt somewhat sceptical. There are so many gimmicks in this world that offer something to you, but there is always a catch.
2. What have you decided to do with the money?
We (my wife Deidre and I) gave $300 to our friends who have begun the process of adopting an orphan from Uganda, but do not yet have all of the funds. We gave $400 to my mother-in-law who has a significant amount of medical bills from some problems she had last year. We each have taken $100 dollars and given it randomly to a person. With the final $100 we took our kids out to lunch at a restaurant. We paid for our lunch and then decided to give the waitress a tip of $100.
3. What does 'good' mean to you?
'Good' is giving without any expectation of return from the recipient(s). There is an aspect of laying aside yourself and being selfless.
4. Has it changed the way you think about giving?
It has inspired me to give more. It is not always in monetary means, but with time, effort, etc...
5. Did you think about spending the money on yourself and what difference the money might make to your life?
I did think about spending the money on myself and paying down a little bit of debt. This could have had an impact, but I felt doing good is about giving. It has been so much more fulfilling to give it away than spend in on myself.
6. What question should I be asking you and what would you like to ask Wearelucky?
How do you responsibly select recipients?