Thursday afternoon July 6, 2006 with clouds gathering over a public trail in Homewood, Alabama a teen riding a bicycle stops me as I’m pushing a buggy with over 300 lbs. of weights while roller blading and asked, “What are you training for?”

I answered, “Just personal fitness.” 

We shook hands and exchanged names. 

“Are you fit,” I asked Gavin. 

Gavin, while smoking answered, “Yes in everyway but these,” while holding up his cigarette. 

Immediately I responded to this 18 year-old who was on his way to work at the neighborhood bar and grill, “Tell you Gavin, why don’t you quit right now and give me all your cigarettes and never smoke again.”

Gavin explained that he had some personal problems ongoing which created a need to smoke to help relieve his stress. He shared that he had been smoking over two years and both parents smoked.

I went on to tell Gavin about Ronnie my childhood friend who has lung cancer.  

Gavin so kindly asked my age, and I told him I was 53. He really complimented my physical appearance by saying, “Man, you are really ‘cut’.” 

As we were talking I got a cell phone call and Gavin continued to hang around. 

My cell phone caller immediately understood my conversation with Gavin and out of respect stated she would call back later. 

In no time Gavin was handing me his fresh pack of Newport cigarettes.  

I gave them back and asked him to sign and date them, and that I would save them for as long as I lived. 

I looked eye-to-eye with him and asked, “Gavin, are sure you want to quit?”  “Yes,” was his humble answer. 

He commented that he needed to get on to work. 

As the sun was going down on this day, I decided to visit Gavin at his job, just to see how he was doing without smoking. 

Gavin was the door greeter and was chewing gum and told me that he had not smoked. 

I praised him and left quickly.




Please return home with a healthy heart


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