The large gaggle of 12, 13 and 16-year-old boys headed to the left, while the 10 and 11 years olds headed right. The teens and pre-teens walked around a well Halloween decorated area on their way towards the Steel Eel.
The younger boys walked down the slight incline on their way to Shamu's Stadium. Along the way, the twins saw a small rollercoaster through some trees that the cars were in the shape of a whale. They then passed a pirate ship with water spraying all around and an area that looked like a play-scape.
The younger lads then came across the Ocean Discovery stadium where a show highlighting graceful beluga whales and athletic Pacific white-sided dolphins was presented. Not only were the twins impressed by what they saw and what there was to do in just a short distance, their friends were, too
The teens and pre-teens all headed in the direction of the Steel Eel. As they walked to their destination they passed many Halloween themed areas showing funny and scary faced pumpkins lying out on the grass areas as well as skeletons and many other weird Howl-O-Scream themed items. They also walked past a few smoke machines that gave the area an eerie feeling.
The preteens also passed the Halloween themed areas, but they diverted over to Clyde and Seamore's theater to watch their Halloween show. As they walked up the grade to the top of the theater, they saw more Halloween themed items hanging in the trees and compiled into somewhat scary dioramas.
Charles reminded his friends 'he'd been there done that' back in August, and reminded his friends not to sit on the left as there was potential they would definitely get wet. Frank and Wayne were surprised their group of boys didn't follow along to the roller coaster, but were happy they would get to see the show that was just starting.
As the teenagers walked a little further to the Steel Eel roller coaster, Robert told his friends what they could expect on the ride. Some of the Cover lad's friends started to mock him that the ride didn't look all that high or intense. All Robert could stay to them was to just wait and see.
Dan Fischer told his partner, Judy Turner, he was there back in August with Todd, Robert, Charles, and David and explained how David had to find the restroom in a hurry after the ride. Judy wasn't too sure she wanted to ride the coaster after hearing that. All Dan could do was laugh.
The large group of 10 and 11-year-olds continued their long walk down to Shamu's Stadium. Along the way, they passed many more Halloween themed sights. Some were scary dolls, others were skeletons and scarecrows hung up in the trees. The lads laughed at some of the decorations and stayed clear of some others they passed.
The lads then came across a water coaster ride called Journey to Atlantis. The group stopped to watch the ride and after they saw the people weren't too wet, after riding, some of the boys asked if they could ride that before it got too late. None of the chaperone's answered, so the boys looked to Mr. Ken for the answer.
"Boys, I guess since we are in such a big group there really is no one as the leader. The ride to me looks tame enough that if you get a little wet you'd dry by the time the sun begins to go down, but ONLY if you ride the two front seats. If you look at the people in the back they got the worst of the splash.
"But what say we all hit the Shamu show first and then you can break into your individual groups. When the show is over, you can pull out the maps you picked up at the front of the park and your chaperones can help you decide what to do and where to go next, if you don't have any ideas," counseled Mr. Ken.
The pre-teens watched the show called Clyde and Seamore's Halloween Bash. The show was populated with an otter, a walrus and two seals, Clyde and Seamore, which are the stars of the show. The production depicted Clyde and Seamore becoming Bust-Ghosters helping an old lady recover her stolen jewelry. The show had the different animals doing their tricks and it was the otter who had stolen the jewels. The show was funny and the lads enjoyed the crazy and corny things the two seals did to get the jewels back to the old lady.
Just down the lane, the twelve teenagers all got in line to ride the Steel Eel followed by Dan and Judy. The line for the ride wasn't too crowded, as the park had only been opened for two hours by then. But, as the day wore on, more and more people would be filling into SeaWorld to attend the Howl-O-Scream shows later that evening, and the ride lines would get much longer.
The teen boys all got into the line queue and picked where they wanted to ride on the train. With twelve kids and two adults, they would only take up half the train, if they all got to ride at the same time. When the coaster train entered the station and the current riders offloaded, the boys took their seats and buckled in and pulled the lap bar back to hold them safely in. Dan could see Judy was a bit apprehensive to ride the Steel Eel, but Dan told her the restroom was just down the way and she'd be OK. Judy laughed and quickly took her seat and got safely tucked in.
Kevin and Kyle's Group took their seats at the top of the huge stadium, so they could watch the entire show with ease. As the boys were seated, they noticed video screens on both ends of the stadium that focused on different people seated while they waited for the show to begin.
The seventeen lads and five adults took up a nice sized section of the seats and their loud, boisterous talking caught the eye of the cameraman on their side. He radioed his partner across the way, to focus on the group for a wide shot and then pick a few lads for the screen.
"'Dad', 'dad'," called out Kyle, "we're on the screen. Everybody wave!"
The boys all stood up and waved to the camera. Then, they saw some of their faces on the large screens and they jumped up and down and vigorously waved. The adults smiled at the boys' antics and waved too, hoping they'd get picked to have their faces up on the 'big' screen, too.
Charles' Group were laughing up a storm as they watched the seals get involved with ghosts as they investigated the robbery. Clyde and Seamore found they had to go through Seahorse Hallow where they have to perform some tricks to enter. As the seals swim in the moat they splashed the people all along the front rows. The boys were happy they didn't get there earlier because they knew that's where they would have sat. When the show as over they ragged on Charles saying they could have sat on the left. All Charles said was he didn't know they changed the show.
Over at the Steel Eel, Robert's Group were all seated and as the train departed the station the lads were very boisterous. As the coaster cars rode up the track to the top of the 150-foot hill, the boys all got a good view of the lagoon in the center of SeaWorld. They also could see a good portion of the park and realized all there was to do there.
As the coaster train began to crest over the top, the boys up front got to momentarily hang and got a good look at the downward slope of that hill. Then, the full train made it over the top and raced down to the bottom. Those seated in the back got a little bit of airtime as the weight of the front cars quickly pulled them over the top and they some negative g's and were lifted up out of their seats. Lucky for them the lap bar kept them in place.
As the train picked up plenty of speed many of the lads could be heard either screaming or yelling at the speed and the slope they were headed down. But no sooner had they got to the bottom they found themselves racing up to the top of the second hill. As they crested the top of the second hill they all got a taste of airtime, but they didn't have time to enjoy it as they raced down the second hill.
The boys found the second drop wasn't as deep as the first, but the lads did feel some G-forces pushing them down into their seats as they reached the bottom. But quickly enough they found themselves racing up the third hill where they felt themselves floating up out of their seats. But there was no time to enjoy the feeling, again, as they immediately raced down the third hill gaining speed as they went and pulled a few more g's at the bottom.
At the top of the next hill, there was a brake-run that then led to a sweeping drop loop to the bunny hop hills. As the train followed the track, the lads were exposed to a number of 'bunny hop' hills that gave them airtime after airtime after airtime before they entered an S curve that brought them back to the station where the lads exited back to under the canopy of the trees. Once they were all together, they headed down the slight grade towards The Great White.
When the Clyde and Seamore show was over the pre-teens all decided to head over and ride the Steel Eel. They stayed in an orderly group with some talking about the show and others running ahead. They were all amused at more of the Halloween decorations all along the way and they enjoyed the fog machine making it a bit difficult to see where the roller coaster was.
The last-minute addition of twelve-year-old, Ryder, was something no one could have anticipated and Charles and Camm wanted the boy to feel welcome. The two very good friends talked to Ryder to get to know him better.
"Ryder, I know how you feel being with a bunch of strange kids. I'm a foster kid, and I've been shuffled between homes like I was a bad penny. I had to meet new foster parents and their kids and sometimes other foster kids. Then, I had to attend a new school and I had to make new friends there. So, Ryder, please know that I want to get to know you, because, well, I've been there, but I no longer have the t-shirt," laughed Charles.
Ryder looked at Charles and smiled. "Thanks," said Ryder. "Yeah, out at the ticket windows, I thought it was a great idea that my brothers and I would get to be with other kids our age. But, I forgot we didn't know one another and that was the awkward part. Your friends all tried to talk to me during the show and I talked to them ... but not too much. I hope they won't stop talking to me."
"I bet they won't," said Camm. "They like a mystery and that you are," laughed Camm.
"Why'd you say that?" asked Ryder.
"Well, we have no idea who you are and anything about you, so ... they'll want to get to know you," replied Camm.
Just then Charles' Group came up to the Steel Eel. Charles went over to David and whispered into his ear, "Are you going to ride this?"
David looked back at his friend and said, "You bet I AM! I love this ride." The two laughed at what David just said knowing he'd never ridden a roller coaster before, and he almost pooped his pants.
Robert's group was well down the walkway when Charles' and his friends arrived at the Steel Eel. They were walking quickly down the walkway with the intention of riding The Great White roller coaster next, but along the way, they stopped to look at some more of the special Halloween decorations SeaWorld had placed along the walkway.
It was while they were walking past the Penguin Encounter that some of the lads said they wanted to go in and see the penguins. They noticed it was a walk through and they told the others it wouldn't take all that long.
Frank Longer encouraged the boys to take a few minutes to see something that probably none of them had ever seen before. Then, Mr. Wayne jumped in and seconded what Mr. Frank had said. The two adults urged the lads to take the time and view the regal king penguins and other types of penguins from sub-Antarctic colonies. Mr. Wayne then told the lads they'd get to view and see puffins flying around, as well.
The lads looked to one another, but it was Asher who said he was going in and would catch up with the rest of his friends in a few minutes. Then Mason said he was going in, too, then Jacob and Hunter and before long every one of the lads went through the building. It only took the group about ten minutes to walk through, but they could have taken much longer if they had stopped to read more of the informational cards that were there.
Both Kevin and Kyle's Groups headed over to the water coaster, Journey to Atlantis, after the Shamu Show. They got in line and remembering not to sit too far back in the boats so they all got into the first and second que lane. Since there were 17 of them, not counting the five adults, who were presently with them, it was going to take three boats, with eight sitting in the front two seats, to get them all through the ride.
Mr. Ken wanted to try the Atlantis ride, so he got in line with Dan Chassen, otherwise known as Mr. C, and followed the boys to the entrance. The Journey to Atlantis water coaster wasn't crowded yet for the same reason the Steel Eel wasn't. It only took the entire group twenty minutes to enter, wait their turn and then all meet outside just off the main thoroughfare.
Robert's Group stopped to see the penguins and the puffins didn't slow the boys down any. They wanted to ride The Great White roller coaster, so they hurried out of the Penguin Encounter and rushed down to the entrance to The Great White coaster.
Since all twelve lads wanted to ride the floorless roller coaster, and so did Mr. Dan, they had to decide where they all wanted to ride. Some of the lads wanted to ride the first seats, so they could see the entire ride from up front. As they hurried to the ride, Robert and Eric called out 'front seat'.
When they arrived at The Great White area, they saw the area was decorated for the Howl-O-Scream. There were colored lights strung across the whole area and lots of special Halloween embellishments all over. They also noticed there was also an entrance for one of the Howl-O-Scream haunted areas that would open later that evening. The boys made a mental note of where it was.
Brad, Logan, Cody, and Trevor also called 'front seat', too. The trouble was when they all got to the ride, the line for the front seats was already pretty long. The lads regrouped and decided to ride wherever they could get what they considered a seat. They quickly got in line for the floorless coaster, and as they waited their turn, they discussed the different elements of the coaster, like the two vertical loops, the zero-G roll, and the Two Corkscrews they would soon encounter. The lads were all excited they would soon ride.
As the lads turn finally came, one person did get to ride the front seat, Dan Fischer. As he was loading two rows back, he saw there was going to be an empty seat on the front row and he asked if he could change where he was going to ride. The attendant told him to hurry, so Mr. Dan quickly walked to the front row, got seated and then put on the safety restraints. When the ride was over Robert asked him how he got to ride up front. All Mr. Dann told him was, 'you snooze; you lose'.
Charles' Group waited in line for their turn to ride the Steel Eel. Charles asked Ryder to ride with him, to the chagrin of Camm and James. The lads chose to mostly ride with their best friend, but there were a few who just picked a line and waited for someone to join them.
When it came to their turn, the lads quickly sat down, buckled in and then pulled the lap bar back to lock it, and them, in place. David and Dylan were seated together and as the train began its roll to the chain lift, David decided to tell his friend about his first ride on that coaster back in August. Dylan laughed so hard at what David told him, he almost forgot to look out over SeaWorld as they climbed to the top of the Steel Eel.
The pre-teens' ride was very similar to the teenagers' ride not more than an hour ago. The coaster train crested the top of the hill and the lads all screamed as they sped down the first hill into the bottom loop where G-forces pressed them into their seats. At the top of the second hill, they all felt the airtime that had them floating above their seats before plummeting down again. The second bottom loop wasn't as bad at the first, but at the top of the third hill they got another taste of airtime before plunging down 100 feet to the bottom of that hill where they again experienced the G-forces that pressed them down into their seats
The coaster train, filled with mostly 12-year-olds, rose up to the top of the next hill where they come across the return brake-run before they sped down the return loop that leads into what the lads later called 'camelback hills'. That was where they experienced lots of airtime at the top of every hill. Before they knew it, two minutes had elapsed and they were back in the station.
After they rode Journey to Atlantis, Kevin's and Kyle's Groups broke up. Kevin and the lads in his group headed back towards Shamu Stadium, but they were planning to head towards the back of the park to see what was back there. Kyle and his friends, including the three ten-year-olds, headed back towards that small roller coaster they saw when they first arrived.
Kevin and his friends had no idea they'd have a long walk ahead of them before they arrived at The Great White. But the long walk wasn't a bust as the boys saw lots of Halloween features all around. The one that caught all the boys attention were all the tombstones in the makeshift cemetery. Then they came across a bunch of witches walking all around a cauldron of flames.
They passed Rio Loco along the way and some wanted to ride it, but Ms. Emma told the boys they'd get really soaked and that would not be a good choice for the October air. The boys thought about it, but decided Ms. Emma was right so they passed by it.
As the 11-year-olds walked past Rio Loco they came upon to the teen group walking in the other direction. Kevin stopped and asked Robert how was The Great White ride and the teen told him he should try it. As the teens walked on, the 11-year-old heard the teens laughing.
At the front of the park, Kyle and his group got in line for the Shamu Express roller coaster. It was a kid-friendly coaster that even the 10-year-olds would enjoy. The lads picked a queue line to wait in until it was their turn. Since there were only ten lads, they all could get on the same train unless someone just had to ride the front and would have to wait.
The Shamu Express only had a lap bar to pull back, so after the lads loaded onto the train it didn't take long for the attendants to check them over and they were off. The coaster went up the first hill of 15 feet and then down and up and over a few small hills before coming back to the station where the train went around one more time. The lads laughed the whole time.
After they rode the Shamu Express they lads wanted to check out the Shamu's Happy Harbor. There they saw the pirate boat was decked out with climbing nets they all thought would be fun to tackle. There was also a Splish 'n' Splash, water play area, which Barbara Sullivan told the boys to stay out of, and two playgrounds, one for younger kids and one for older lads their age.
When they finished walking through Shamu's Happy Harbor, Ryan took out his large SeaWorld map and looked at what else they could do. Seeing there was a shark exhibit and some dolphins he showed the rest of the boys the map and told them what he thought they should do next.
The lads talked about it and they all decided it would be fun to see a bunch of sharks and the dolphins, so they walked to the exit. They all got their hands stamped, so they could come back into the park, and then headed to where the map showed was their next stop, Discovery Point.
Kevin's Group looked at The Great White and they talked about riding it. Only Sam and Terran were game to ride it and asked the group if they would wait for them. The rest of the 11-year-olds said they would. Some decided to walk around the area and look at all the different ways the Halloween decorations were put together and spread all throughout the area. The others went into the games room to play some games of chance.
Sam and Terran were a bit apprehensive at riding the larger than large floorless roller coaster, but they had committed themselves. They knew if they chickened out now they'd never hear the end of it, especially at school. As they waited in line, they talked to a few of the other riders trying to figure out where they should sit. The people who had ridden that coaster in virtually every seat told them to sit on the outside to get the air and see the track.
When it came time for them to ride, Sam and Terran took seats in the middle of the train but on the outside. They buckled themselves in and lowered the over the shoulder bar and waited. The ride attendant came by to check their restraints and when the whole train was ready the ride operator lowered the loading platform and dispatched the floorless train.
The train climbed to its 108-foot height and before long Sam and Terran were along for the ride. The train raced down the first 81 foot hill right into a vertical loop quickly followed by a Zero-G Roll and right back into another vertical loop. The boys didn't get much chance to recover before they were sent into a wingover, and then another, before they knew it the coaster came into the station run.
When the intrepid coaster riders found their friends, Kevin asked them how it was. Sam and Terran looked at one another and simultaneously said "Intense!" Their friends who were close by heard what they said and laughed. When asked if they'd ride it again, they said they would now that they know what to expect.
Mr. Ken had watched the 11-year-olds head in their separate directions. He waited until Kevin's Group were pretty far ahead of him as he intended to follow behind. He watched the 11-year-olds first stop to look at a few of the more interesting Halloween decorations and to talk with the 13-year-olds for a short time. The two groups then went their separate ways.
"'Dad', if you're looking for your group of two," laughed Robert, when he saw Mr. Ken, "they're with us."
"Yes, I see they'd rather hang out with thirteen-year-olds than someone in their mid-twenties. Those turncoats," laughed Ken Thomas. "So, boys, are you enjoying yourselves?"
Todd spoke up for the group and said they sure were. He told Mr. Ken they'd ridden the Steel Eel, walked through the Penguin Encounter, where they saw the royal king penguins and puffins birds. He told them they just finished riding the Great White floorless roller coaster and were heading to ride the Journey to Atlantis water coaster. Robert added they saw lots of different Halloween decorations that were fun. He also added the smoke machines made the area seem very eerie.
As the teens walked on, Mr. Ken told the boys to sit in the first two rows of seats on the water coaster, so they don't get too wet. He told them he and the 10 and 11-year-olds had already ridden it and they came off 97% dry. The teens continued their walk towards the front of the park, while Mr. Ken walked further towards the back.
Mr. Ken caught up to Kevin's Group as they were still talking to Sam and Terran about their ride on The Great White roller coaster. He asked why the rest of them didn't ride it and Kevin said he would have, but he wanted someone bigger to ride with him. Mr. Ken asked Kevin if he was game to ride with him. Kevin looked up to 'Dad Ken' to see if he was teasing him, and seeing he wasn't, the twin said "Yes!" with a smile.
With Mr. Ken riding The Great White with Kevin, the rest of the other lads decided to try it, too. The boys even asked Dan Chassen if he would ride, but he and Emma Foster said they were too old to try riding that intense of a ride.
The whole group got in line, including Sam and Terran. They asked Sam where he thought was the best seats to use and all he and Terran could tell them was what the people they talked to earlier told them. When it came time to ride, Mr. Ken sat on the outside with Kevin right next to him with Terran on the opposite outside seat with Blake next to him. Sam took another outside seat of another row with Grant, Isaac, and Nathan filling up the row.
Kevin held onto 'Dad Ken's' hand the entire time the coaster train climbed the first hill, but after that, he grabbed the over-the-shoulder restraint bar with both hands as he screamed through the first loop. But Kevin wasn't the only one to scream as behind Mr. Ken he could hear a number of high pitched voices screaming, too.
When the lads got off the ride, Mr. Ken thought he'd have a few green faces amongst them, but he was surprised none of them were.
"Thanks, 'dad'," said Kevin as he hugged 'Dad Ken'. "That was so much fun, but I don't think I could have done that without you being there." Kevin then hugged Mr. Ken again.
After stopping at the Penguin Encounter, Charles' group came up to the eleven-year-olds as they were talking about their Great White coaster experience,. Then, when Charles learned his 'dad' rode the coaster with Kevin, he wanted his 'dad' to ride it with him, too. The other lads in that group also encouraged Mr. Ken to ride with them and told him he could catch up with the younger kids later. Mr. Ken decided to stay and ride.
The lads in Kevin's group talked about their coaster ride amongst themselves as they continued their walk back towards the front of the park. When they came across the Penguin Encounter the boys all said they were interested in walking through it. The seven lads and their chaperones all stepped onto the moving walkway and looked into the enclosure where the penguins were on display in an ice, water, and rock environment.
The boys kept telling their friends to see this or that as they watched the penguins dive into the water and swim around as the floor kept moving. Once they got to the end of the viewing area, they could either turn left and walk up a slight incline and watch from a slightly elevated area or they could continue the tour. The lads decided to see what else was there to see.
They came around a corner and there the orange-beaked puffin birds were. The puffins had a very rocky environment to roost and fly off of and lots of water to swim in. The boys were intrigued by the number of birds and how they not only flew around, but also as they swam through the water and not just on top. The lads said they were glad they took the time to see that attraction.
As Kyle's group walked to the other area of the park they came across Dolphin Lagoon in Discovery Point and its underwater viewing area of the dolphins. The 8 bottlenose dolphins had a big pool to swim in and there was a small glass wall out front people could use to watch them swim. There was also the underwater viewing area at the back, and the lads wanted to see that, so they walked around to the back of the pool. There they walked down about ten feet where there was a much larger viewing window they could watch the dolphins much better as they swam through the water.
After they'd watched the dolphins for a while, the lads headed to the back section where the sharks were located. And just as they saw elsewhere in SeaWorld the lads saw lots of different Halloween displays, but there they were more fish and sea oriented. There were even bubble machines blowing bubbles all over the area.
When the lads walked into Explorer's Reef they first saw a very tall circular fish tank with many colorful fish swimming around inside. After that, there were a number of smaller displays that showed Big-Bellied Seahorses, Florida Keys coral with Chalk Bass, Flame Cardinalfish, and Blue Tang swimming around it.
Then they came to the shark area. There in front of them was 450,000-gallon tank with panoramic window viewing panels so they could see the blacktip sharks, zebra sharks, and sand tigers. Some of the sharks were over 25 years old. As the lads continued walking through the facility they saw lots of other species, like Rainbowfish, Lionfish, Yellow Tang, Starfish, different colored Reef Fish, moray eels and stingrays. The lads were all happy they had gone to that section of SeaWorld.
Robert's group arrived at the water coaster, Journey to Atlantis, and they watched the ride a few times before getting into line. Dan and Judy got into line with the boys because the ride looked tame enough. As the lads waited in line, they talked how they had spent their entire time at SeaWorld trying to ride all the rides. They all laughed saying they didn't care if they ever saw an animal show. The two adults with them had wished they could have seen one of the animal shows.
Kevin's group finally arrived at the Steel Eel, but by that time the crowds at SeaWorld began to increase, so they knew they'd have a longer wait to ride. They all jumped into the queue anyway because they wanted to ride the coaster. Emma and Mr. C followed them and got in line, too, and discussed whether or not they should ride the 150-foot high coaster.
It didn't take the adults long to decide that the coaster looked just a bad as The Great White and they decided to get out of the line. When they were safely outside the queue they both laughed and found a bench where they could wait for the boys.
After Mr. Ken and Charles's group got off The Great White coater, the owner of The Cove said Goodbye to the lads and began to walk towards the Steel Eel. Charles and his group walked in the opposite direction as they intended to ride Journey to Atlantis.
As it was getting later in the day, all the lads saw the occasional Halloween figure walking through the park. They laughed at the characters saying that if they are what the haunted areas have in them then they won't get scared at all. Little did they know!
Robert and his group were getting off their ride when Charles; and his group walked up. The two groups exchanged stories of what they did, so far, and since Charles and his friends were going to ride Journey to Atlantis, Robert and his friends decided to join them.
While the boys talked, Dan and Judy talked to Frank and Wayne and told them they'd ridden the ride and it was very tame compared to the other coasters. When the lads got in line Frank and Wayne joined them. Dan and Judy found a bench and sat down to watch.
Mr. Ken caught up with Kevin's group, but they were quite a long way in the line for the coaster, so he decided to wait for them. As he looked around he saw Emma and Mr. C and walked over to talk to them.
"So, how goes the chaperoning?" chuckled Ken.
"These lads sure do walk fast," said Emma Foster. "I guess I should have asked what being a chaperone would entail, before I let my son convince me to volunteer," smiled Emma. "But ... it has been so nice to see what SeaWorld is all about, and ... and I also want to thank you for inviting my Todd to participate in this wonderful experience.
"I never had the time to take Todd many places and now, in a short time, he's been to Six Flags and here at SeaWorld with Mr. Dan and now this is his second time here with you. Mr. Ken ... you've given my boy a chance. ... You believed in him ... and you gave him a job and ever since then, his self-esteem has risen off the charts. You taught him how to drive your big boat and that knowledge enabled him to help in saving a teen his age," continued Emma, as she stood up.
"Mr. Ken, you and Mr. Dan ... you both have given my boy what he so desperately needed, a man to talk to and be with and a chance to prove to himself he was someone. You know, Mr. Ken, I didn't want Todd to help Danny work on your field, but he came home every time so happy because he was doing something to help ... me. Sure, he brought home a paycheck, at the time, but ... I still didn't want him hanging with that much older teenager.
"Then, when Ryan was getting ready to go off to college ... you offered that Beach Master position to Todd that paid him more than twice what he was bringing home before that. Mr. Ken ... that job ... it saved my boy. He was afraid he'd go back to feeling like a no-body like he felt he was before he and Danny began leveling your field.
"Mr. Ken ... you've done so much for my boy, as you have all the other boys who have crossed your path. You ARE a godsend to these boys, and I have everything to be thankful for because of you. I will never forget how you gave my son, a scared little teen, back to me. Because of you, my Todd stands up tall; he holds his head high and he has friends ... friends like never before, and he now feels like he has a future. Thank you!" finished a teary-eyed Emma Foster.
Mr. Ken pulled the now crying mom to him and held her. He started to rub her back, as he does to his boys, but decided not to. The man just held the woman as she worked out what she had been meaning to tell him for a very long time. Now was the time she found in herself the courage and strength to say what's been on her mind. Mr. Ken knew it took a lot of character to do what she just did, and he knows that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
The three adults talked some while they waited for Kevin and his friends to get off the ride.
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