One of my stops on the way across the country was Amarillo, Texas and it's famous roadside attraction The Big Texan Steak Ranch. This is the place they spoofed on The Simpsons that will serve you a 72oz steak. If you eat in within an hour, the steak is free but you have to eat the whole thing plus the salad, roll and baked potato that comes with it. But, big slabs of meat are not what this story is about.
On this particular day, I happened to be wearing my Reggie-as-a-muscle-guy Wii T-shirt that came out at launch last year. We sat down and when our waitress came out she immediately noticed my shirt. "Oh, the Wii!" she exclaimed. "Do you know what that is?" I said that I did and she went on to tell a tale that still has me thinking about it nearly two weeks later. She said that her 23 year old son wanted a Wii for Christmas, wanted it more than anything in the world. He had contracted Spinal Meningitis at the age of four and was paralyzed down one entire side of his body. In an effort to get her son his game system, she borrowed $US 200 from her boss against her pay so she would be sure to be able to get him one by Christmas. "Do you know where you are going to get it?" I asked. I didn't want to disappoint her by saying there was a Wii shortage. She was so earnest in her conviction to get one that I just couldn't bear to tell her. "I don't know where I'm going to find one, but I'll find it. He's such a good boy and he really deserves this." Having had Spinal Meningitis when I was 20 and only just barely escaped death (I was in a coma for three days) I knew what a horrible and painful experience it was, although thankfully I received no long standing after effects.
I spent the rest of the meal on my iPhone, trying to hunt down anywhere that had Wii's in the immediate area, but to no avail. When we left, I used my various stops on the remainder of the trip trying to track one down in hopes that perhaps I could find one and send it to her, but predictably everyone was sold out. Returning to work and looking at all the reports of the shortages left me more convinced that finding one may be an impossible feat.
So, if anyone out there has a line on Wiis, please feel free to email me as I am more than willing to pay for it myself. I am bound and determined to make sure this hard working and dedicated mother gets a Wii for her son. For me, this is what the holidays are all about.