Mike Cain had made up his mind to risk his own health in the name of a decades-old tradition he refused to let the COVID-19 lockdown break: The former Air Force veteran was on a mission to find and purchase a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Or 35 of them.
Real estate agent Richard Farmer was driving past when he saw 93-year-old Mike Mike on the side of the road near his retirement home with his thumb out, hitchhiking, last Tuesday.
I left the office today to go home and grab a quick bite to eat when I saw this elderly man standing with is walker at…
“I paused and I was like, ‘Is that guy hitchhiking?’ So, I made a U-turn, immediately went back and asked him if he was OK,” Farmer recalled.
Mike told Farmer he was trying to get to a dollar store about 1.5 miles away, to get a chocolate bar for his beloved, Doris Jerman, or— ‘Do,’ as he calls her.
“I think my first concern was, ‘Wow, I don’t know if I should be picking up this 93-year-old man… But I got the car as clean as I could,” said Farmer, who added that both parties wore face masks.
Farmer wiped down the passenger seat of his vehicle with disinfectant before Mike got inside. He offered to take the senior wherever he needed to go. Farmer suggested the grocery store, but Mike had his sights set on the chocolate bar.
Mike has been sharing a chocolate bar with Doris on most evenings for almost twenty years.
“We don’t eat the whole bar— just a couple pieces,” Mike said.
Mike told Farmer he met his Doris at a senior dance nearly 20 years ago. He said that Doris didn’t know he was doing this, and that she “probably hasn’t even started looking for me” yet.
At the store, Mike hopped out of the car and thanked Farmer for the ride. Farmer remembered, “He thanked me and waved goodbye, but I was like, ‘Wait a minute, buddy! We’re only halfway through with this trip!… ’I’m not going to let you walk a mile-and-a-half back!’”
“He’s very unique,” Mike said of Farmer. “I’ve gotten rides before like that, but they take me and drop me off. But that Rich— he does it 100%.”
“I was amazed. I’m like, ‘This guy must really be in love with this gal,'” Farmer said. Mike purchased 35 Hershey bars at the dollar store.
After Farmer drove him home, he gave Mike his phone number and got to meet Doris.
“He can go wherever he wants to go; I probably have to send the police after him,” Doris said when she realized Mike’s intentions to walk 3 miles for a chocolate bar during a global pandemic.
Since then Mike has called Farmer several times to thank him, and the two have gone grocery shopping together.
“I put him in my phone as ‘Hershey Bar Mike,’” Farmer said.
But then the whole story went viral when Farmer posted pictures of the adventure on Facebook.
“I asked him if he knew what Facebook was [after the story went viral], and he said he had heard of it. And I asked him to guess how many people had seen my post. He said, ‘I dunno, like 20?’ At the time it was 60,000. He said, ‘You gotta be kidding me!’ He was happy that so many people enjoyed his story.”
NBC 7 San Diego saw the story I posted the other day, and wanted to make a compelling report about it. A follow-up…
Now Hershey’s distributors have reached out to make sure Mike and Doris are forever stocked with Hersey’s bars.
The new friends are happy they found each other, and Farmer says he’s still happy to chauffeur Mike around the neighborhood anytime— even though Mike and Doris won’t be running out of chocolate anytime soon.