This post won't mean a whole lot to too many of you, I imagine, but Aaron and I felt like it was something we kind of had to do. See, we just learned that Cheddar Chad, the hot dog vendor in downtown Spokane, died of complications from the flu earlier this week.
Aaron and I frequented his hot dog cart. His Dollar Dogs were the best tubular meat you could get for a buck, his Jumbo Dogs were just as delicious except, you know, jumbo, and he had a cornucopia of fresh and bottled toppings to whet your wiener whistle.
We didn't really go for the dogs, though. They were tasty and reasonably priced. We went for the guy selling them. No matter the weather, no matter the general crappiness of the day, he
had a face-splitting, genuine smile for everyone who bought one of his hot dogs. In a world where the trash bins at fast food restaurants are sometimes more polite than the staff, Cheddar Chad stood as a god among men (and women) who serve delicious, not-so-healthy food. He was a great guy and you could tell that he got a lot of happiness out of his job. On days when work at our little science center wasn't so great, a quick trip down the block could act as a pick-me-up and remind us that yes, there are genuinely nice and happy people out there.
Reading that article I linked above I learned so much about the guy that I hadn't known before. He was going to be a bus driver. He gave hot dogs to the homeless (of which there are a whole lot in Spokane). He DJed in his spare time. He had just acquired a degree in anthropology.
Well, until today Aaron and I only knew him as the guy who took genuine pride and joy in selling people hot dogs 365 days a year. I'm going to guess that's how lots of people knew him, and by the look of his memorial, they miss him, too. As I told Aaron, it sucks more that I can easily put into words that he died.
Rest In Peace, Happy Hot Dog Man.