The walking man is meeting another man walking across America Saturday in uptown Charlotte.
Earlier this week, the Observer profiled B.J. Hill, who's been walking cross-country from Seattle since March 1. Along the way, he's collected thousands of messages from Americans that he plans to deliver to the next president.
He arrived in Gastonia Thursday and expects to get to Charlotte today.
And Saturday, he plans to walk to uptown and meet up with Skip Potts, who's crossing America to raise awareness and money for under-funded public schools.
Potts arrived in Charlotte Thursday night. He started his trek at Revere Beach, north of Boston, on Sept. 1, and is walking south to the Florida panhandle and then straight across the country “so I can stay as warm as possible.” He plans to end up in Santa Monica, Calif., a coastal suburb west of Los Angeles.
“We're trying to help out some of the public schools that aren't doing so well,” said Potts, as he walked south on N.C. 49 toward Charlotte. “There's an awful lot of inequality in our education system.”
Potts has taught college math and English in Prague. He's been an artist, lingerie salesman, radio adman and high-rise window washer.
“When I reflect back on my life, I was happiest when I was teaching, learning and helping people,” he said. “I thought about where the most difference could be made toward the betterment of our world … it was education.”
So far, he's walked 1,000 miles; Hill's walked 3,400. Hill's on his seventh pair of shoes; Potts is wearing his second because his first was stolen in New York City. He hopes a company or someone might donate a new pair. He wears size 11 wide.
The two will be together uptown for a joint public event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Hill collecting his messages and Potts talking about under-served schools.
They'll be in the vicinity of the public library's main branch on North Tryon Street. Look them up if you want to leave a message for the yet-to-be-elected president or you want to help Potts help poor schools.
“There aren't too many people walking across the country,” Hill said.
If you can't make it Saturday, go to Hill's Web site (www.walkamerica 2008.com) and Potts' (www.pfee.org) for more information about their goals.