Wired PR Works by Barbara Rozgonyi

Real-izing Your Virtual Identity

South African Skateboarder Rings Our Bell

Posted by barbararozgonyi on March 22, 2007

When it’s gets warm out, our doorbell starts ringing . . .and ringing . . . and ringing. Everyone who rings the bell wants to see one person and one person only – P.d.

P.d. skates, shoots footage and makes everyone who walks through the door feel like they’re more important than any dignitary imaginable. But, there’s one guy who gets an even bigger reception. And that’s Tom.

Whenever Tom comes over, P.d. comes to get me right away to let me know Tom is here. What’s so special about Tom?

It’s not big house. It’s not his parent’s car. It’s not his iPod. It’s not his clothes. It’s not his cool factor. Nope, it’s not any of these.

It’s his story.

Tom is a refugee – from South Africa. He has no father and no uncles. All the men in his family were killed. His former home is a dusty refugee camp in a desert. He didn’t grow up watching Sesame Street or riding in a minivan driving through McDonald’s. His story is real and dramatic – it’s also heartbreaking, but full of hope.

The first time Tom came over a few years ago he didn’t know how to sit in a folding chair. And, he couldn’t talk to us. But, boy could he smile. When I asked P.d. to give Tom a turn playing video games, Tom just beamed.

I knew it was spring when Tom rang the doorbell today. Minutes later, an informal basketball pick up game picked up in our driveway. The skateboarders took a time out from filming to watch Tom and P.d. shoot layups. None of them were very good, but that didn’t stop them from trying.

I hope Tom comes back tomorrow . . .

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