In an age where everything seems to be binary – you are either this or that – I was hesitant to couch this piece in the Good versus Bad debate. There is certainly a lot to consider when you go down the toxic masculinity line and although this is still relevant, I wanted to frame the subject I’m writing about as just exploring how nice it is to encounter a good-hearted man. Kind, compassionate and caring. As a mother of three sons, the man I will tell you about, is the epitome of a strong role model for young men today.
Skip works in the community of Eaglehawk. Eaglehawk is a strong, thriving community, and to people outside of the Bendigo area, it might seem like it’s just another area - much like Kangaroo Flat or Golden Square. But, to those in the know, Eaglehawk has something special. The historic buildings are a reminder that Eaglehawk was a separate town to Bendigo – or ‘borough’. But I’m not here to detail the buildings of significance, their time period, or even their changing purpose. I’m here to celebrate one man, who is a face many people who venture into Eaglehawk, know well.
Albert Skipper is well-known to many. The man with the vibrant smile to match his enormous heart. Skip is the proprietor of Skip’s Skateboard Shop, which side-lines as a coffee establishment. A place to chat, jam or chill.
Now, I’m not a local – let’s be clear that I am an import to the area. So, my first encounter with Skip left me thinking, ‘why is this person so happy?’ And so, I returned, again and again, to test the theory that no-one can be this positive all of the time. I not only found that they could, but I also learned that it is contagious. Whatever Skip ‘has’ he passes on to those around him. Let me explain. Skip employs maybe three or four people, in various roles in his shop. Baristas, retail assistants, and likely skate technicians. As well as Skip, the young men at the coffee window of Skip’s shop, are there to serve, but more aptly, there to bring a smile to your day.
I was curious as to whether Skip employed people who were naturally this way, or did they become this way, due to the modelling Skip provided. I have deconstructed the act of coffee making. It seems monotonous, and I’m sure you are at the mercy of busy people, sometimes forgetting their manners, always focused on one thing – getting caffeine! So, when day after day, a pajama-clad young person beams at me, and says in the least condescending way ever, ‘hello beautiful’, I am made to feel like the only person in the world. I’m also wanting what he’s having. Maybe they’ve already had five coffees? Who knows, but the point is, these young people break the mould, in the best way possible. So, my theory is – Skip is the reason for this culture, because culture comes from the person in charge setting the example, the standard, doesn’t it?
I’ve decided to post this as a prelude to a larger piece I want to write about good men in the community who are essential for our young men to see and learn from. To learn how to become good, kind, compassionate and fair-minded men. Like Skip.
Is there someone in your community that has this affect on others?