As you walk into the Gorge Amphitheatre for Watershed weekend, you instantly feel like a part of a special community. The "Shedder" vibe takes over. It's a sense of belonging, looking out for each other, and caring about complete strangers.

Those "strangers" all have a story. The people who started out as "strangers" but are now my friends are some of the wonderful employees at the Gorge.

Take Serena, who handles media entrance security. She is a mother of three -- ages 8, 5 and 3 -- and she works at the Gorge for the concert season. She was looking forward to having some time off to spend with her kids before they go back to school.

Sue works the gate where we enter and exit for our meet-and-greets with the artists. She's a small, older lady, probably barely five feet tall, but don't let that fool you! She obviously rules the roost complete with a sign on the back of her gate that says "Sue's Gate."

Becca was working in one of the concession stands, where I learned something that I didn't know about the Gorge. Becca was working to raise money for a girls basketball team in Soap Lake. Volunteers work in various concession stands for different charities or groups to raise money. They get a small percentage as well as the tips you leave in the jars. I met a nice young man in one concession stand from Tacoma raising money for competitive cheer and in another stand a group from the Wenatchee Rotary.

They're all employees of the Gorge, don't they're all struck by the "Shedder" vibe. Looking out for others. Yeah, on some level it may be their job. But everyone I spent time with was extra helpful. Going above what's expected from them.

We all have a story, but what makes the difference is taking the time to hear that story. Taking a little bit of time out of our busy, crazy day to maybe make someone feel special. Even if it's just for a second.


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