I'm thru hiking the Appalachian trail. For the past few days I've been hiking with a young man from Germany. As we were approaching Franklin we encountered several residents at the road crossings giving snacks and beverages, trail magic we call it, to the hikers.
At Winding Stair Gap a local resident stopped and gave us a ride to the Sapphire Inn. There, we paid for our room, took a shower and went out to get a meal and hiking supplies. Within five minutes, we were given a ride to the restaurant we wanted to go to.
The next morning, Saturday, we were picked up at Sapphire Inn and shuttled to the First Baptist Church for a free all-you- can-eat pancake breakfast.
While sitting at the table enjoying the meal and fellowship I noticed tears welling up in my friend Jani's eyes. I asked him if he was okay. He replied in a quivering voice that he was physically fine but was totally overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of the American people! He said that he's travelled extensively through all of Europe and North Africa and had never encountered anything close to the thoughtfulness, kindness and generosity of the people in Franklin, North Carolina!
Vince Vilcinskas — Marshall, N.C.