Last Saturday, FORAI had a booth at our neighborhood farmer's market. I worked the booth during the morning shift with another volunteer and a participant named Geeta. She was so sweet to hold Lazarus and keep him warm that cool windy morning.
We've been trying to bring more participants to the sales for two reasons. One-people love meeting the woman who made the items they are buying. It makes the purpose of the entire organization seem more real to buyers. Second-it encourages the women so much when they see people admiring their work. It proves that their hard work is truly paying off.
We had a lot of people stop by, both to buy things and just to hear more about FORAI. It was fun talking with people about why FORAI is so special. At one point, I was alone at the booth and a man walked in. He looked like he was in his 50's but was trying to look more like 30, wearing shiny black shoes and blazer over his tight expensive jeans. I thought it was strange, but I was happy to have another person to talk to. He walked in confidently with his right hand extended.
Man: "Hi. I'm Russ Carnahan."
Me: "Um, hi, uh, I'm Bethany Robbins" I said reluctantly with a grin. Why in the world did he think I cared what his last name was? I proceeded to go into our shpeal about who FORAI is and what we do. Half way into it, he interrupted me.
Man: "Well, this is great. You know, I'm a congressman here in Missouri and I often vote on things that affect immigrants and refugees here in this great state. I love what you're doin' here and I'd appreciate your vote."
Then he gave me a thumbs up. HA! Seriously, a thumbs up! I couldn't help but chuckle. I tried to save it by saying "Oh, cool. Uh, I just moved here (kind of a lie....we've been here over a year now, oops!) so sorry if I didn't realize who you were." Yeah, not sure if that saved it. He gave me a forced understanding look and said "Well, I'd appreciate your vote" one more time while walking away from the booth.
I felt kind of stupid, but then I felt sort of bad for him walking around assuming everyone knew who he was and would immediately treat him like a celebrity. Maybe if his jeans weren't so tight.....
Either way, it was nice that he stopped by. We handed out a lot of cards that day with information about the organization and our website. Hopefully, business will be picking up these next few months as we enter the biggest shopping season of the year. Who knows, maybe Russ Carnahan himself will come to another sale and buy something nice for his wife.