I remember driving from Calgary AB to Lloydminster SK (about a six hour drive) September 2018 and talking to my Mom on the phone as I often do during my long drives. At the end of the call, I told her I still had about three hours to go and would message her when I arrive, again something I always do. What my Mom has come to know is that when I have the long drives, I have loads of time to think. About two hours after speaking to Mom, I called her back and said 'I've been thinking'. Her response...'Oh God!'. Thats when she first heard about my plans to do a Coast to Coast driving tour.
The planning would begin and would take 13 months to get to where I am today. Our Board of Directors for Bullying Ends Here decided upon the 'Kindness Tour' as a name and I went public on social media.
My goal was simple, I wanted to reach as many students, and adults, as possible while keeping the expenses as low as possible. Unfortunately money is hard to come by for charities now a days. With using my own vehicle to drive the entire route, and being low season for most hotels, the costs would be reasonable. The real challenge would be the amount of time I would spend away from home and work.
Thanks to the Calgary Police Service for being our biggest supporter, I was allowed to take a leave from the front lines of policing to focus on Bullying Ends Here. There is a benefit to all police agencies across the Country wherever I go. I must confess that leaving the road for the time being will be hard as I truly love being in the Police car, wearing the uniform and holding people accountable for their negative life choices. I now realize that my 'calling' to do Bullying Ends Here has become larger than 'Tad' and I have to put my own dreams aside for the time being to help others achieve theirs.
My friends on social media really stepped up and began putting the word out that I was doing this historic tour and the estimated dates in which I would be in each community. It didn't take long for the majority of dates to fill and the media to put their support behind us as well.
I can tell you that something like this is not exactly easy to do, but when you really want to do it, and you know that it will ultimately help so many, it just happens naturally.
This seven month journey will also be a personal challenge to myself. Time to be alone, reflecting with ample time to think and plan. I want to get into the best shape that I have ever been, I want to do a lot of research, read books, write books and really harness that person that I can be. I want to be the person that I wish I always had growing up. I am not a perfect person and I have made many mistakes in the past but I commit to myself and everyone else to continue to grow and learn. Serving my Country as a Police Officer holds a special place in my heart and traveling the Country empowering our next generation to pursue their dreams just adds to that feeling of accomplishment.
I made a promise to Jamie's family years ago that I would tell the world about their son but I had no idea my intentions would turn into a program that is requested all around the world. I am so fortunate to be in a position of being able to share so openly and make that connection with those that need some extra support.
Speaking about abuse, neglect, bullying, vulnerabilities and mental illness isn't easy for anyone which is why we struggle with remove the stigmas around these. The more we talk, the more 'normal' it becomes.
I hope that more people start to open up and share their own experiences. To me, this is essential in helping young people know that it's perfectly normal to have bad days or feelings of being alone. It's perfectly okay to struggle. As it stands now, youth honestly believe they are alone when they do struggle because adults aren't talking enough.
Communication.....the way to resolve many issues we face today!