JOHAN VANDEN BOS
JOHAN VANDEN BOS
At the time I had no idea that we would become friends, and how involved in his life I would become.
My Friend Bob (Documentary film treatment)
Written by Johan Bos Copyright 2019, 2020 by Johan Vanden Bos
“This is Bob.” I was told by our host.
I had just entered the dinning room where a group of us had been invited for lunch.
Bob immediately stood up and stretched out his right hand towards me. I shook his hand, and included a friendly smile.
“Hi Bob. How are you?” I said, and then noticed Bob had a mouthful of food. He nodded his head a couple of times in efforts to indicate he was fine, while he quickly chewed and swallowed.
“I’m--fine. Thank you.”
He had crumbs on his lips and some salad dressing on his chin from the crackers he had been eating. He pulled a handkerchief from his pocket to wipe his mouth.
“I’m Johan.” I said, watching him clean the dressing from his chin.
“Oh, Johan. Nice--to meet you.”
His words were difficult to understand, but not because he was eating. He spoke with some sort of defect. Never the less, he was understandable. He stood fidgeting, looking intently at me, and not knowing exactly what to do. To break the un-comfort I said, “Well, I’ll let you get back to your lunch, Bob. It looks good. I think I’m going to get some of those crackers myself.” Bob sat down to carry on eating.
Bob had an obvious disability. His hands were unsteady, and he moved somewhat erratically and unstable. His words not well pronounced, and he stuttered as he searched for what he wanted to say.
After lunch we talked more, and I learned that Bob was quite polite and mannered. He also loved to talk. That afternoon, as the other guests left, Bob was driven home. I didn’t see Bob again for almost a year.
At the time I had no idea that we would become friends, and how involved in his life I would become. That’s how I met Bob.
“My Friend Bob” is a 60-minute documentary about Bob and his dream of seeing America’s landmarks.
Bob lives alone, and even though he can live primarily unassisted, he often needs help with repairs in and around his home. That’s where I came in. After about the third time I saw Bob, through the same circumstances as the first time we met, Bob opened up to me. He told me of his desire to attend church, and his difficulty in getting to church. I asked Bob where he lived, and it wasn’t far from where my family and I attended church. So I made the obvious suggestion that we pick him up on Sunday mornings.
Next thing I knew, I was installing phone lines, repairing leaky faucets, and a number of other tasks that Bob was unable to do or understand. As a result, we got to know Bob better and better. He is open, and refreshingly honest about his feelings, and he isn’t afraid to express his opinion. I also learned that he had never attended a baseball game. He told me he is a Mariners fan, and someday hopes to actually sit and watch a game in the stadium. In curiosity, I asked Bob his other dreams and hopes. “To see--Las--Vegas and other parts--of America” and before he’s too old, he tells me. Then his eyes gleamed with delight as he said; “I want to eat one of those famous hot dogs from “The Chili Bowl” in Washington DC.” We'll certainly try, I told him.
Well, I made arrangements to take Bob to T-Mobile Park In Seattle this year for the beginning of the Mariner’s season. He was excited, and can talk of nothing else.
I later asked Bob, “If we could make a trip across country, would you go? And could we film it for television?”
He smiled ear to ear and said “Oh yeah!”
I elaborated on the fact that a camera crew would be with us all the time, filming us talk, drive, and meeting new people.
“Oh that won’t bother me.” Bob says.
So this year, Bob and I will be at his first baseball game at T-Mobile Park, and with a little luck, that will kick off our journey on Bob’s lifetime adventure to see America. Then, as America watches, Bob and I will see the sites of his dreams, meet and talk to regular people, maybe a few celebrities, oh yeah, and possibly even share a famous DC hot dog with Donald Trump.
The program will also include, “A United Effect”, a feature bringing the citizens of each American city we visit together for a common cause, feeding America's hungry children. This will be done in a unique way as the program and Bob's journey across America progresses, cleverly uniting each city on this journey with the next. (Contact for details on the “A United Effect” feature)
The producers expect the program to be a three part series.