Thursday, 20 August 2015

Mike Holmes and Home Free

I wouldn't ordinarily say watching TV is a life-changing experience, or even a life-enhancing one. But last night I watched an episode of "Home Free," and I've been thinking about it all night.

The show has been running for a few weeks, but last night was the first time I'd tuned in. The basic premise is that a bunch of couples spend each week renovating houses for needy families while hoping to win a house for themselves at the end. All of them are in urgent need of a home themselves, but they spend their time and effort helping others who are equally or less fortunate. Every so often, one couple is sent home (like so many other reality/competitive shows). What makes this one unique, though, is that every contestant gets a house in the end; they just don't know it. They think there will be only one winner: the couple left standing at the end. They don't know that the "losing" couple sent home each week is given the house they just spent their week renovating.

On last night's show, Mike Holmes asked the "losing" couple if they would like to meet the deserving family for whom the house was built, and they said yes. Even though they were disappointed that they had been eliminated from the contest, they were happy to think they had provided a home for someone else. I watched the shock and amazement in their faces when Mike told them this beautiful house they'd worked on was actually for them (and it really was perfect for them), and I got goose bumps. The disbelief, the joy, the astonishment that they would be given such a gift...and then their dawning realization that all the other couples (with whom they'd formed friendships over the past weeks) would also be getting houses. The woman broke down and cried -- not at the thought that she was getting a house, but that the other couple would be getting one too. She wailed into her husband's chest, "Ben and Kasey will get a home for their children!"

I looked around the living room, and I wasn't the only member of my family who was damp-eyed. And it occurred to me that Mike Holmes had picked out an appropriate house for each couple who would be on the show ahead of time, planned whom he would eliminate from the show in which week, and masterminded an incredible charitable act. This show doesn't flash a lot of product names or give air time to manufacturers. It doesn't have a lot of fanfare and hype, and it's all quietly done, not with a megaphone à la Ty Pennington. Mike stands in the living room of this lovely new house and simply says "It's for you." One man being kind to others. The quiet impact of that was amazing.

Cheers for Mike Holmes, and cheers for these couples who are willing to reach out to needy families and their fellow competitors. The world needs more of this.

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