This caught my attention Thursday when Rochester's Olive Juice Studios emailed out their newsletter.
Olive Juice co-owner Scott Schoeberl and Jessica, who manages the photo studio, stopped on a whim to chat with Rochester's famous "2nd Street Waver."
Here's a little of what Kelly Schoeberl, who owns Olive Juice with her husband Scott, wrote about that visit plus, of course, some photos of the colorful Waver himself.
Scott and I have lived in Rochester for nearly 10 years. Rochester is best known as the home and birthplace of Mayo Clinic and, to the dismay of some, the corn cob water tower.
The Rochester Convention and Visitors Bureau publishes a magazine, Experience Rochester, to promote the many amenities that make Rochester a "Best Place to Live" (Money Magazine). And, if you ask someone on the street, they are more than happy to tell you where the nearest park, bike trail or golf course is. What no one knows, however, is the story behind the guy on 2nd Street.
He stands on the sidewalk, wears the most outrageous outfits and happily waves at cars as they pass by. We drive down 2nd Street every day. It takes us to our gallery and it's the same road patients use when they visit Mayo Clinic. Sometimes we see the "2nd Street Waver" in the morning and sometimes we see him in the afternoon. No matte r when, he always makes us happy. So happy, we feel compelled to honk and wave back.
A few weeks ago, curiosity got the best of Scott and Jessica. They had just finished a photo shoot and were driving back to the gallery when they saw him, the 2nd Street Waver. Camera in hand, they stopped and introduced themselves (first name then last and middle, per his request).
Turns out, his name is Joey and he's 44 years old.
Joey has battled diabetes, high cholesterol and a depression that kept him locked in his apartment for years. It wasn't until he "got a calling from God" that he went outside to wave.
Joey wears a different outfit every day and gets limitless energy from the can of Pepsi he holds as he waves. He taught Jessica to hold the can with 2 fingers outstretched to signify 2nd Street. He also put his hats on her head and let her wave his flags. He said she was the first person he ever let do so.
Joey hopes to start a movement. Waving makes him feel better and he thinks people all over the country would feel better if they did it too. It would be easy to dismiss Joey as "crazy" but we think he's pretty darn smart and can't help but wonder if the rest of us are the challenged ones.