I was a shy little girl growing up in Kentucky. In spite of being shy, I somehow made good friends quite easily.
Following in the steps of my big sisters, at 16 years old, my parents sent me on a bus tour of the western USA. What an amazing opportunity! I spent 6 weeks on a coach bus, sleeping in tents, and seeing sites like Mount Rushmore, the Badlands, Grand Canyon, and Glacier National Park.
On the bus, the vast majority of the 42 teenagers were from New York, New Jersey, and Michigan. Let’s quickly get to the point that a shy little girl from Kentucky did not fit in. For the first time in my life I was the social outcast. I painfully felt how horrible it is to be on the outside of the crowd.
From each and every payphone, I called my parents begging and crying for them to fly me home. They repeatedly said no. I could not understand why they would not help me.
Years later… I realized they helped me more than I could have ever imagined. Thank you for teaching me how to fight through tough situations instead of running away from them. This experience taught me empathy and how to include others in future situations.
Mom (Carol Heideman) and Dad (Mickey Heideman), thank you for dealing with those horrible phone calls and for your persistence. You made me a stronger and more compassionate person.