One of the amazing things about Make-A-Wish Utah is each child is unique, making the whole process different. The first time I met 16-year-old Alexis I knew this was going to be a wish experience I would remember.
Her second wish was to be an apprentice tattoo artist. So when we were told her that her first wish would come true, we decided to do the proclamation at a tattoo business.
My amazing wish partner Mandi Peterson got to work. She set up with Big Deluxe Tattoos to let Alexis come in for a couple hours and sit with a tattoo artist, as this person was working on a tattoo and explain as they go. During this time they needed to let Alexis know her first wish was going to be given to her. At this point I jumped in and offered my leg for the tattoo. Why not? It's for Make-A-Wish.
We told Mom to bring Alexis to the north parking lot of Sears on State Street, not revealing anything else.
So, Alexis tells us first she was bummed and she thought she was getting a Sears shopping spree that she never asked for. When they pulled up and she saw the Big Deluxe Tattoo sign she was stoked. She figured she got her second wish.
We all went in and Mandi had talked to the owner on pulling it out a bit with the surprise.
They had Alexis sit down with Jr and Randi and start in learning the art. Mike, the owner, came in to the cubicle and said hi and handed Alexis a big basket full of art supplies, Skull Candy, $100 tattoo certificate and more, all items which were bought by the employees at this tattoo shop. Alexis was touched. There were about 12 people standing around waiting for the next surprise. Mike then gave Alexis an amazing picture he drew of a God and had written on it "Your wish to Rome has been granted." Alexis started to cry and cry. It was so amazing, all these "tough" tattoo artists with tears. It once again goes to show it does not matter where you are, you can feel the love others have and so eagerly want to share. What an amazing warm feeling to be a part of.
After all this JR and Randi showed Alexis the ropes of being a tattoo artist, everything from setting up the table and work area to sterilizing everything. They were both so patient and caring; you could tell they wanted her to take in the whole experience, and she was. JR explained every move, starting with the picture and all you do in drawing it etc. from the paint, to the needles.
I wanted a cowboy boot on my ankle, as my Dad always wore cowboy boots. JR started in using the tattoo equipment and explained the whole way how to draw the line, how deep to go, what to look for. I'd ask before Alexis arrived if she could help him with doing the tattoo. He said sure, that he would have her do just some lines. Well she did some lines on the bottom of the cowboy boot and he was so impressed that later he let her do some of the shading on the middle of the boot. She did about 20 minutes of work on the tattoo with him standing there helping.
It's really not a thing I do everyday, getting tattoos. But to me, this was very touching and moving. First, [it brings the memory of] my father, because of the cowboy boot, and then to have a Make-A-Wish child help with the tattoo, this is not something you do everyday. I hope Alexis will remember this day as much as Mandy and I will; we will always remember it being so epic. When you think that you've gone every place to proclaim a proclamation, think again. Big Deluxe Tattoo you made it possible, to make a lasting impression on this young lady. She cried as she left with her Mom. She said the next day she was still questioning if it was all a dream.