If you see a big guy with a big dog pushing a 6 foot globe around your town you’ve just encountered “World Guy”! No, it wasn’t a figment of your imagination, so feel free to turn around and say hi!
Hi, my name is Erik Bendl, otherwise known as World Guy. The globe is a rubber ball covered in canvas and hand-painted with green continents and blue oceans — it’s about six feet tall, checks in at about 60 pounds and is a well-worn 30-years-old. I used it at a camp I used to volunteer at, when the woman who had it had no use for it anymore she called an gave it to me. When my son Ethan turned Seven I pumped it up for his Birthday party. It was too big for the backyard so he and I took it for a walk. It was so much fun we began to walk it all the time.
Since then, my globe and I have often been seen around Louisville’s Highlands. For years its residents would see the ball rolling down the sidewalk toward them and hope that someone was behind it and in control! People kept asking me why I was walking around with a big ball and “just for fun” didn’t seem to satisfy them. So, I decided I better come up with a better reason. Since I am a product of Dick and Gerta Bendl, the latter a Ky. state representative who died of complications of diabetes, and both of whom had been know to dance to a different drummer, taking the show on the road for Diabetes seemed like a good idea. My 80 year old Uncle, my Mom’s brother, also has diabetes but has been successfully managing it. He lives in Pittsburgh, where my Mom was also from.
And that brings us to why I walked from Louisville, Ky. to Pittsburgh, Pa. with my dog Nice and the aforementioned ball.
Unofficially, I walk as a third party event (I'm an Event!!) for the American Diabetes Association. And, although they are grateful for my efforts, Nice and I are not getting any financial support from them. I'm relying on the big hearts of normal people, most of whom either have diabetes themselves or have family or friends who do.
And the rest of the story?