Who Chris McBride Was (And Why You Should Care)

Yesterday, I told you about how I’m running a fundraiser for Children of the Night in memory of Chris McBride. Today, I want to tell you a little bit about Chris.

I met Chris at a pub in Oxford in the fall of 2001, where I studied abroad my senior year. He was bartending and I was looking for some beer I’d had in Scotland, which had a higher alcohol content than anything I could get in the States. When he quietly told me they didn’t serve that, I asked for a cup of tea. I was aware that most people would have laughed at the change of request, and was struck by his kindness, and the follow-up questions he had were asked with only curiousity. England isn’t the easiest place for Americans to make friends with strangers, but Chris had that warmth about him that made me instantly feel comfortable.

I was a bit of an activist in college, and ran into Chris at various protests around town. He was a tireless advocate for change, and we quickly became friends, then started dating. When I think of him, I remember his selflessness and the amount of time he spent discussing ways to create social change. He was open-minded, willing to entertain various perspectives even if he didn’t always agree.  He was also incredibly patient, and spent hours explaining the subtleties of nuances in British expressions I’d come across, and why expressions I used matter-of-factly (such as “go figure”) may come across differently than I’d intended. Chris is also solely responsible for me graduating college, as he’d let me work on my thesis on his computer in the evenings while he would meet with friends for drinks, so I could work in the wee morning hours and actually get things done.

I can think of hundreds of small examples of Chris’ thoughtfulness, but it’s really the combination of the many simple things he did and the way he lived his life that made him so cherished by those around him. But these small personal anecdotes are from the totality of Chris’ kindness. He lived his entire life in the spirit of selfless service. Whether he was working on the Make Poverty History campaign, fighting tuition hikes or writing letters in support of human rights, Chris was constantly putting himself aside to help others. You may not have known Chris, but surely you know people like him.

I left England in the summer of 2002, and only e-mailed Chris intermittently. One day his sweet face crossed my mind, and I entered his name in Google to find out what he might have been up to. It was then that I learned Chris had been  killed. A pacifist, Chris did not retaliate when he was attacked without provocation, as he sat quietly reading a newspaper and drinking a pint in a Liverpool pub.

I wasn’t there in that pub that night, so I don’t know what happened, but I know that nobody stepped in to help him.

Chris went home that night and never woke up.

He was rushed to the hospital in the morning and put on life support.

He died of head injuries 9 days later.

Even after his death, Chris was still selflessly serving others. He was an organ donor, and his liver saved a 21-year-old man and a 10-month-old girl. His kidneys were also donated to two men.

It’s not often that someone leaves such an impression on us that we remember them fondly and think of them quite often so many years later, but Chris really was one of a kind. I’ve thought him a lot over the past 10 years, and especially the past 7 years since he died. I’ve really wracked my brain trying to think about what I could do to honor his memory. His untimely death left his countless friends and his loving family shattered. When I think of Chris, I think of innocence… and how someone so selfless and kind could be the victim of such a horrible, tragic event.

Chris was only 25 years old when he died. He was so smart and so full of hope and dreams, which were tragically cut short.

When I was listening to an NPR story about Children of the Night, I thought of Chris. The charity helps child victims of human trafficking. “The worst things you can imagine happen to these girls. I mean, continuous rapes and beatings and branding,” Haniah Cardenas of the Los Angeles County Probation Department told NPR in the interview. When I think of the issues I had growing up, they really pale in comparison to the loss of innocence and the abuse these children go through.

Talking about trafficking isn’t exactly fashionable. Nobody wants to think about girls being traded for commercial sexual exploitation, and trying to drum up support for the cause isn’t easy. But with our donations, we can help these children regain their dignity, have an alternative to the streets and get a chance for a normal life.

The Children of the Night home, located in California, is open to child prostitutes throughout the U.S., and their hotline is ready and able to rescue these children 24 hours a day. Hotline staff works closely with law enforcement to rescue children from vile, dominating pimps. The organization’s home features an on-site school and college placement program. After youngsters complete a rigorous and comprehensive program of academic and life-skills education, caseworkers are available to provide ongoing case management to hundreds of graduates.

Helping innocent people escape brutal violence isn’t easy. If we could go back in time, I’m sure each and every one of us would do just that for Chris, but unfortunately, it is far too late. But it’s not too late to help these innocent children have a chance for a normal life. Will you join me in making a donation to Children of the Night? We can’t right the wrongs of the past, but we can sure change the future.

Nobody gives money to charity for an incentive, but as a gift from the heart. However, a small group of caring individuals have contributed some gifts for donors to say thank you and support this fundraiser. There’s a very detailed description in yesterday’s post, and I’m including a shorter summary after the jump. (Some people have mentioned that they don’t like the idea of making a charitable donation and receiving a gift, so just wanted to clarify that you have the option of either donating anonymously–which makes you ineligible for obvious reasons– or simply choosing not to accept a gift.) Here’s the link to donate: http://www.causes.com/actions/1680864. Thank you so much for helping me honor Chris’ memory with your contributions.

$52 donations receive a copy of Pace and Kyeli’s 52 Weeks To Awesome e-course.

$20 donations receive a digital copy of Tim Brownson and Jon P. Strelecky’s  How To Be Rich and Happy.

Want to change your life? Chris Guillebeau has donated a ticket to the World Dominaion Summit. Tim Brownson has donated a 90-minute values coaching session. Johnny B. Truant has donated his Tao of Awesome course e-course. Shannon Wilkinson has donated her Boring Change Kit. Jonathan Mead has donated his Reclaim Your Dreams course. Leo Baubata has donated a digital copy of The Effortless Life: A Manual for Contentment, Happiness & Flow.

Need to work on money and selling? Mark Silver has donated the Heart of Money Transformational Journey Homestudy e-course. Pam Slim has donated the Ethical Selling That Works digital course. Charlie Hoehn donated a copy of his e-book, Recession-Proof Graduate. Clay Collins has donated LeadPlayer .

For fitness enthusiasts: Gold Medal Bodies have donated their Focused Flexibility Program, John Romaniello has donated a copy of Final Phase Fat Loss and Super Hero workout, Eric Cressey has donated a copy of Show & Go Training, Greg Everett has donated subscriptions to the Performance Menu: Journal of Health and Athletic Excellence, Jim Bathurst of Beast Skills has donated a month-long online training package, and Robb Wolf has donated his 30 Day Total Transformation e-book. Liz Bragdon has donated a complete set of  Scooter & Me Kids Fitness, Yoga, and Exercise DVD set.

For book geeks (like me): Cameron Conaway has donated copies of his print book, Caged: Memoirs of a Cage-Fighting Poet, Laura Laing has donated a signed copy of her book, Math for Grownups. Michele Wojciechowski has donated a copy of her new book, Next Time I Move, They’ll Carry Me Out In A Box,  Jennifer Nelson has donated a signed copy of  Airbrushed Nation: The Lure & Loathing of Women’s Magazines and an anonymous person has donated a set of 4 eclectic books.

Some cool stuff that doesn’t neatly fit into any of these categories: U.S. Memory Champion Nelson Dellis has donated a 30-minute Skype memory lesson,  Leslie Smith donated a copy of the Fight for It documentary,  Anton Emery has donated the Noone Lasses CD . An anonymous person has donated a hand-made silver and copper pendant with gemstones, and another  anonymous person donated handmade paracord survival bracelets.

Please make a donation at http://www.causes.com/actions/1680864.

I want to get posts like this delivered to my inbox.


  1. Vicki Hutchinson says:

    Hi my name is Vicki and Chris was my cousin. My sister came across this on the Internet and I just wanted to say thank you for the lovely tribute. X

  2. Maria McBride says:

    Hello Yael.

    My niece told me about your lovely tribute to Chris and I wanted to thank you too.
    Chris would be pleased and so proud of you for supporting such a worthy cause.
    I recall meeting you when you visited our home in Liverpool and I am not surprised you are running for this charity as you struck me as a very caring person, as so many of Chris’s friends are.

    I wish you health and happiness for the future, as Chris surely would.

    Maria McBride. XX

  3. Anna Siddell says:

    Hi Yael

    Thank you so much for this tribute to Chris which really captures the lovely man he was! It’s great to hear what you have done in his memory.

    Anna x x x

  4. Thank you, everyone!!!

Speak Your Mind