Linkin Park’s RAOK Year

For Mike Shinoda’s 36th birthday this year, LP Fan Corner (@LPFanCorner) launched a worldwide gift for all Soldiers and friends to participate in:

RAOK

It was launched just in time for the streak of awesome ‘random acts of kindness’ I’ve been blessed with, so here is my list so far, and hopefully it’ll keep growing!

1.) Given: I entered a photo contest on Facebook to receive a satin 16×20 poster print of any photo we chose. I entered with my photo with Sean Paden taken at the LPU Summit in Cape Town, 7 November 2012. We had the LPU backdrop behind us, Brad’s famous Given Up guitar slung over my shoulder with his arm, and his red hat gifted to me- it’s one of my favorite photos! To win the print, our photo had to have the most ‘likes’ once it was posted on the company’s page.Well, my competition was few, but one other photo took my breath away, and I honestly thought it’d win; a family portrait with a young couple kissing, a little boy smiling up on his dad’s shoulders and a little girl laughing, hanging upside down in her mom’s arms. Absolutely beautiful.And my amazing friends helped me win by a landslide. When the time came to give my information, I looked at our own family photo missing my then-not-born-yet sister, forced smiles and posed sitting in front of a boring background- still, it was precious to us. So, I asked them to take my Paypal information and send a print to the family as a gift.

They were ecstatic (:

2.) Received: Though not as impulsive as my trip to Cape Town last year, my trip to New Zealand for my second Summit was wild to plan and I almost didn’t have the chance to make the trip (I bought my flights SIX days in advance!) The main problem with the whole trip was accommodation; hotels were $300 per night or too far from the arena, or simply had no bookings. Hostels were becoming my only options, but being a lone traveler and pretty oblivious about hostels, I was leaning more towards not resorting to hostels and giving up the trip.

But then three fellow LPU Soldiers made it happen for both New Zealand and Sydney-

Priscilla from Tauranga, New Zealand (about three hours from Auckland) read about ‘an American looking for a host in Auckland’ and opened her home to me. She was also going to the Summit, so we were going to travel down together and stay at their favorite hotel; which, mind you, was literally in front of Vector Arena! Sadly, the Summit’s MFR event was too early and they weren’t going to be in Auckland until that day’s evening. So my time with Priscilla and her family was only spent at the hotel, but I hope to visit her.

Priscilla

Then, there’s Corey from Hawaii, United States, a fellow American! Working for a hotel chain, she also read about needing a host or recommendations for good places to stay, and offered for me to stay with her! We had shaky communication, at one point I thought I wasn’t going to hear from her again, but in the end I got a hold of her at the Auckland airport before take-off, and we literally met at the international arrivals’ gate in Sydney! With her, I had a amazing hotel to stay in that’d I’d usually not think even once about trying to book in, and we ran into Mike fuckin’ Shinoda himself in the lobby! Jim, Pooch, Missy and Sean were there as well, and we also saw Stone Sour (except Corey).

Corey

For the last two nights of our time in Sydney, Sarah from New South Wales steered us toward a hostel that was clean, safe, and next door to the train station and just three blocks down from the arena the boys would be playing at. Corey and I were laughing at the fact we went from a luxury hotel to a hostel, but it was fun and definitely worth it!

3.) Received: Probably one of the kindest things I could ever experience also happened on my NZ-Aus trip for Linkin Park, and it definitely won’t be forgotten- I had the layover from hell in one of the paradise islands of Cook Islands. Landing in Rarotonga at 5am 19 February 2013, I was stranded in the smallest airport I’ve ever known, with no local/NZ currency, no food or water, my luggage and a blanket I stole from the plane. From 7am to 1pm, after having tried to find somewhere to stay or eat with no success, I curled up on the benches with my luggage and slept for most of the time after having cried and wondered “What the hell are you doing here, you idiot?” My next flight wasn’t until 1:30am the next morning. I, was sad and frustrated and starving.

At 1pm though, after the workers at the airport had told her about me being there since morning and having to stay until the next, a local hostel owner by the name of Tara came up to me and woke me up, asking “Do you want to come and stay with me?” I immediately said yes and left with this complete stranger, and my day took a complete turn for the better. She took me to her hostel to sleep on a glorious mattress, to the bank to exchange money, and later to eat. After showering (it was beyond humid so I was gross), she left me to wander and explore, enjoying the island rather than wishing it to burn in hell for being so miserable. The German dental students staying with her were kind and welcomed me into their company of jokes and laughter, and at midnight, Tara fed me again and took me to the airport for my flight.

If it weren’t for her I would have had the worst introduction to a whole new side of the world for me, and I’m glad she found me. Thanks to her, I know the island experience (:

4.) Given: Roughly eleven years ago, I got a skateboard. And not just any skateboard, but a Linkin Park skateboard. Got it signed at one of the early concerts somewhere in Southern California, hell knows when and not sure whose parents we went with- but it was mine, a blurry memory, but mine either way.That poor thing has been under my bed, up in the attic, behind my Beanie Babies in my closet, in someone else’s room, and then recently made it into my current room next to my snowboard- no matter where it was, though, it was lonely and dusty and neglected. And it made me sad. ):Since he hasn’t received yet, I can’t go into much detail in case he reads this; but after mentioning how awesome it was and telling me how ‘jelly’ it made him that I had such a treasure, I felt he would love that poor thing to death, and decided he should adopt it. Of course, he doesn’t know he’s adopting it, but I’m sure he won’t mind.

5.) Given: Touching back on my second Summit, is the fact that I spent two weeks trying to figure out what to get signed. At first I thought it was hard to decide what to take because I have so many things, then thought it was because so many things I’d like to get signed wouldn’t have been safe during the trip or pit (posters, vinyl, figurines)… but it was hard, because it’s not about their signatures.

Of course one of my pride and joys is my signed book From the Inside: Linkin Park’s Meteora, but that was many years ago when meeting them wasn’t as ‘common’ as the past two-three years (hell yeah, LPU!) and it was a fond adventure with one of my closest friends. Now though, after having some nice chats with them, jokes exchanged, a nice smile or hug- I can easily walk away from them without having anything signed, and be perfectly happy. I don’t need them to sign my things.

To be honest, I’m so anal and OCD, most things I own, I’d see them as ruined with their signatures- BRAD. You’re known as BBB, not BB-!

So, my item to be signed became more about a good friend back in South Africa and his birthday, and my question was now “What would make him love me more than Mike Shinoda?” — you think I’m joking, but I’m not. Again, he hasn’t received it either and might be reading this, so all I can say for now is that, that item made it through airport luggage handling, the Auckland pit, more airport handling, Sydney and my own abuse here at home; signed by our favorite band and wrapped up, ready for South Africa! I hope he likes it! I hope he loves me more than Mike Shinoda!

6.) Given: LP Fan Corner also launched MFR Day on the anniversary of Haiti’s devastating earthquake and one of Linkin Park and their Soldier’s biggest movement to help them. Though donating to help others is enough of a reward, I thought another reward wouldn’t hurt. I also didn’t need to have two copies of A Thousand Suns +, only the best-Linkin-concert-on-DVD-ever.

Once I came back from my trip, I had my sister randomly choose from the list of people who donated, and sent my extra copy to a new home with a fellow Soldier- who is now a good friend! Thanks Jeri!

7.) Received: Adam. Friggin’ Adam (and Sean! But he rocked my Linkin world before this so he’ll be thanked and written about in another post) is Mike Shinodaly awesome. Once more I need to bring up my Summit trip to New Zealand, and give somewhat of an idea of what makes him Mike Shinodaly awesome- and that’s only cause he himself mentioned what he did.

I guess to make up for the fact he yelled and worked us Summit helpers like slaves (I’m kidding), Adam had me stay inside the venue since I didn’t have a ticket in exchange for scrubbing the bathroom floors that day at the Summit (replace ‘scrubbing the bathroom floors’ with ‘helping’). But then security made him babysit me! So that’s how I got to see part of Stone Sour’s soundcheck in an empty venue. It was pretty awesome and made my friend back home hate me as much as he loves me.

However, what I really never thought would happen is that I actually got to eat for the second time ever on a concert day. In other words, he convinced me I wouldn’t lose my shot at the barricade and led me backstage to their fancy catering room to nom our stomachs full of Greg’s amazing cooking.

His potatoes were godly.

I got to meet and talk to the crew eating at the time and Sean was there, too! It was also my second to last proper, filling meal of the trip (and basically my first, ha!). The last one was also thanks to Adam. So, thanks for feeding me! :D

8.) Received: My mailman, James, was gone since Thanksgiving last year. He recently came back onto our route about a week ago, perhaps. A week ago, was also when I received a LPU package I’ll be smuggling into South Africa when I go back, but it was open, and it was missing the red LPU 12 keychain and the LPU 11 album. Not sure how missing items and an opened package before its arrival to me was handled, I immediately Tweeted GroundCrtl and Adam about it, only to be told the packages never leave poorly packaged and that I had to email support. I was pretty nervous for my friend it was meant for!

And then our doorbell rings and there is James, smiling and holding the missing items. He found them in the bin he emptied on our route and circled back to ‘the Linkin Park house’ once he realized what they were.He is the coolest mailman… ever. And got cookies the next day!

9.) Received: I stupidly took my favorite, most precious Linkin Park sweater on my last Summit trip to New Zealand and Australia.And I stupidly lost it most likely on my first day in Auckland, between meeting up at a sports bar with fellow Soldiers and stepping into the hotel that night. Then didn’t notice I lost it!

As a matter of fact, I didn’t even realize it was missing until a week after I came home, and to top it off- I couldn’t effin’ remember if I even took it! I cried for that sweater and for my stupidity, and have no shame.

So after posting in our LPU NZ Summit group on Facebook and posting on friends’ walls from both Auckland and Sydney, and blogging about it on LPU, begging for any sightings at all of my sweater, I accepted my loss when not one person could recall even seeing it. I eventually deleted my blog post on LPU.

Then today I get a package from Auckland; in it, is my dear sweater, same mango body wash scent and lose string in the pocket, with a note:

I believe this is yours from what I read on your blog one boring night at work. Gotta thank LPU for listing new blog posts! Picked this guy up on Beach night before the concert, couldn’t believe I found it! You don’t see this one around here. But I’m honored really to return it to the American fan who flew all the way over to give us a visit! Shame I didn’t meet you. Don’t lose it in another country!

If you have Whatsapp, here’s my number xx xx xxx xxxx! -James

I am the luckiest, happiest Soldier on earth and I’m not going to let this sweater ever leave my side again…. (heart)

10.) Given: Sent a ‘thank you’ card to a certain friend in Germany without telling her. She’s simply been so amazing. I hope she likes the pug on it!

11.) Received: I was in an accident. And when I got better, I learned about my friend Melissa (“You spelled Adie wrong!”) making a Get Well Soon page on her blog, dozens of Tweets from friends and strangers and the crew and Adam and even Anna, cards and flowers and plushies, and the onslaught of “LPFamily” all over. The welcome back was just as overwhelming.

No matter how crazy our fan base can be, it’s always more amazing than anything else. I learned that first-hand.

12.) Given/Received: Adam had mentioned at the NZ Summit that he had always wanted a Yorkie, and not even a month after he had his wedding, he asked me via DM if I knew any rescues where he could adopt a Yorkie to add to his family. After about 43 collective texts, DMs, emails and calls- a breeder knew a friend who needed his Yorkie in a new home within 24 hours, or he was going to the shelter as they had to move.

I let Adam know, and even though he was nervous about such an immediate deadline (what if he just wasn’t the right match?), he decided ‘yes’ with the promise on my end that the little guy would find a home no matter what.

The next 48 hours were some I will never forget; Adam fell in love with that little Yorkie my friend picked up 4 hours away from us and drove down here, just a picture of him from behind as he looked out the windshield the deal breaker. The texts exchanged with his excitement and obvious connection to him were truly gems, and when they did finally meet, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed more of a perfect bond.

I gave Dexter the perfect person, and Adam us the great act of adoption and caring for an animal.

Dex

13.) Received: My kind friend on Twitter, Amanda, lives in Johannesburg, South Africa, and I hadn’t thought of collecting pins from my adventures at the time I visited, so I asked her if she could find one to send.

Not only did she find a great pin, but sent a little surprise of a small, plushie lion keychain from Kruger. He goes everywhere with me now!

14.) Received: Adam personally referred me and Dayna to Lorenzo for a re-launch of the Street Team missions back in the streets rather than online- one of the most fun, rewarding experiences ever. The antics we got into promoting SSMF at Disneyland and all over LA were some of my best times, and it’s all thanks to Adam and Lorenzo.

SSMF

15.) Given: Volunteered in Music for Relief’s DoGoodBus event in Inglewood with a project to plant 100 gardens in homes for a community farmer’s market. We got down and dirty and crawled around in moist soil and fertilizer, and it was fun. Can’t wait for the next!

16.) Received: Maurice was awesome and came over at the end of SSMF and handed me a set list while I was waving good-bye to friends. I was pleasantly surprised and thankful for the awesome add to my memories.

17.) Given: In Hong Kong, Rob, Jason and I weren’t the only ones experiencing the country for the first time- Lorenzo was too, and guess who didn’t know cards weren’t accepted in cabs? All his cash gone, Jason and I spotted him the ferry ticket to the islands for our Summit Music for Relief activity. It was nice helping him for once (:

18.) Given: At the HK Summit, we no longer had Adam and it was going to be Lorenzo’s first (official) Summit. I got together with Rob and Jason to order two more large Summit flags aside from the one for the band, and gifted one to Lorenzo at the LPU Meet Up at Hard Rock after everyone there signed it. His had “Welcome to our LPU Family” at the bottom.

LPUHK

At the Summit we then had a few fans sign Adam’s flag, but what I’m really happy about was that Rob and I managed to get Pooch to sign it, then Rob tried his luck getting it behind the barricade to the stage with the crew. It ended up getting passed around by everyone, and eventually even made it to the band. Adam’s flag was signed that we missed him.

19.) Received: Won the Facebook contest to get a chance to attend Stone Temple Pilots with-Chester-Bennington‘s rehearsal at Encore. The guys were awesome and all four, went individually greeting every single fan there. So, aside from that, after the performance they hung out and had photos taken with small groups (my group included Melissa and Lorenzo). Then aside from that, they signed items for each fan as well!

So, because of all that, I was nervous to ask for more than just a signature from Chester but I gave it a (very timid) shot- “Can you write the set list from tonight?”

Not only did he very nicely give an enthusiastic “Of course!” but he funnily didn’t remember the exact order, and went about the room looking for a set list. When he finally found one, he wrote it on the back of my frame with four white squares for the guys to sign. One of my favorite treasures I have.

20.) Received: For AFI’s show in Pomona, Yazmin and I slept over night at the venue to be one of the first in line. It was freezing beyond reason, a bit sketchy and well, freezing as fuck. Not even for Linkin have I done this.

So day after, and a couple of hours before doors, we 20 or so crazies learn that you can pay at the bar inside, and they’ll slip you in first. We were vivid. However, they recognized the fact that they knew we were there since the night before, so we specifically kept our spots at the front. To top it off- they fed us free pizza after such a long time waiting and only snacking. The show ended up being amazing.

21.) Received: I’ve been pinned on Bay Area’s own Beta State ever since Mike blogged about them. So after two years of chatting to them on Facebook and Twitter, I was pretty damn excited when they won LPU Sessions. I exploded with pride and fangirled on Twitter so much, and when they were finally in Los Angeles to record, I nearly begged for a show. Unfortunately, they didn’t have time for one, but Ryan then offered to have me come over and learn guitar from him!

Sadly, I was sick and nursing an injury, so I ended up having to cancel. It was a month later that I went to LPUHQ, that Lorenzo hands me over a package as we get to hear “Change” for the first time before release- the guys signed me an album. (:

Beta

22.) Received: Dayna and I and the usual suspects got invited to do the LPU XIII trailer!

23.) Given: Sent an extra Linkin Park single to Brazil. Good to declutter with it making someone happy.

24.) Given: Winds have been horrendous and violent up here in our part of the Valley, and trash bins have been flung around our street like feathers. Spent the morning collecting and returning them to my neighbors since most are much older and sometimes can’t even move their empty bins a short distance.

25.) Recieved: Adam got me a Christmas card and I’m pretty sure it’s the only Christmas card I’ve ever gotten.

26.) Given: I received a bundle of cool Julien-K merch, but I’m not nearly as big a fan as my friend Melissa is. Gave her the single, poster, and stickers as a surprise.

27.) Given: We had a huge party at our house, and still managed to over-shoot with the amount of food made. Made plates piled with food and cake, saran-wrapped them and left them on our neighbors’ doorsteps with notes. We got nice cookies and cards in return!

28.) Given: May have pulled a muscle, but helped our elderly neighbor move a divider screen into her house. Was much easier on me than her and her dolly.

29.) Given: Played nanny for a young mother on the plane struggling to entertain her baby.

30.) Received: For my trip back to South Africa, I was hosted by three of my great friends made over a year ago at the Summit. The chance to actually relax and fit into a daily routine and fit into the usual family squabble is much more warming than holed up in a hotel. I can only hope I could return the favor when they visit instead.

31.) Given: Donated my leftover Rands to Virgin Atlantic for their charity to offer schooling and school buildings to children in countries in need. Told the teller at the Cheetah Outreach to keep the change for my two pictures that raise funds for their program. Gave a 100 R tip to the lady that painted my face at Bastille.

32.) Given: Still collecting shampoos and soaps from hotels, waiting for the next US tour to hand them over to Missy for her to deliver them to local women’s shelters at each stop.

33.) Given: Paid for the person’s food behind me without telling them at Jack in the Box. Looked like a stressed student from CSUN.

34.) Received/Given: Lorenzo covered lunch for me, Adam and Mike. I ended up being able to donate the $20 I had taken for lunch later that same day.

35.) Received: A friend remembered from months before my A Thousand Suns skateboard had been broken. He got me a new one. <3

36.) Given: I put together a charity auction of personal band memorabilia with Rikki, called #MFRHaiyan. Together, we raised over $1000.00 for Music for Relief.

MFRH

MFRHa

Happy Birthday Mike Shinoda!

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