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It was one of the defining moments of the second 2016 presidential debate, and it almost didn't happen.

At the very end of the second "town hall" debate, after roughly 90 minutes of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ripping into each other's policies, scandals, and character in front of a small audience, one man stood up to ask the evening's final question.

His name is Karl Becker. He is a father of two from Washington, Missouri. And he had a simple request:


"Would either of you name one positive thing that you respect in one another?"

Trump and Clinton enjoy a rare, friendly moment. Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.

The candidates laughed warmly. The audience let out an audible "Aww!" And people around the world quickly declared that Karl Becker had "won" the debate.

Little did they know Karl was also prepared to ask a second potential question, one they'd never hear.

"My other question had to do with executive powers," he said. "I guess in retrospect that was pretty lame."

Trump and Clinton face off again in the election's third and final debate on Oct. 19, 2016. So I chatted with Karl about the origin of his now-famous question and what he'll be watching for as the election comes to an end:

Q: Who is Karl Becker?

Karl asks his question. Image via MSNBC/YouTube.

Karl: Who am I? Gosh. I'm a 49-year-old dad in Washington, Missouri. That's a suburb of St. Louis. I have two kids, Darcy and Shane, who just turned 16.

Q: How did you come up with "the question"?

Karl: My son and I volunteer at a little league football association where I live, and I ran it by him that morning. He said, "Oh yeah, that's a pretty good question." My daughter didn't like it. She wanted something that was more directed to Mr. Trump in regards to the "Access Hollywood" hot mic, Billy Bush scenario. But I explained to Darcy, the questions ... had to be questions that could be asked of either candidate.

Q: You've gotten a lot of attention from the media, but like your fellow debate-goer Ken Bone, you don't really seem to care for the attention. What's it like being a minor celebrity?

Karl: Most things don't excite me. It's been interesting. I tried to involve my daughter. She is somewhat focused on the journalism side of her schooling, and I want this to be an opportunity for her to meet folks who may be a help to her as she figures out what she wants to do with her life.
***
But I wasn't looking for the spotlight, and I'm not looking to continue the spotlight. Let [Ken Bone] ride the wave. I'm just taking this as it comes.

Q: I have to ask, have you decided who to vote for yet?

Both candidates seemed delighted by Karl's question. NBC/YouTube

Karl: There seems to be more, for lack of a better word, "crap" coming out on both candidates. And unfortunately, I don't know if I'll make a decision prior to November 8th.

Q: OK, so if you haven't decided, what'll be going through your head when you eventually step inside the voting booth?

Karl:I know their platforms. I can go on websites and read their policies. But what is that going to mean for the bigger picture? How is this going to really affect my kids?
***
It's going to come down to who do I think is more morally and ethically solid? ... Who's going to survive the mud being thrown the best?

Q: Will you be watching the final debate? And if so, what will you be looking for?

Karl: I'm going to watch the debate. I have parent-teacher conferences at my son's high school from 6 to 8 p.m., but then a film crew from St. Louis wants to send a crew to wherever I'm going to be watching. I'm up in the air about that.
***
I would like to believe that there will be more discussion between the two candidates of some worthiness. However, I don't think that's going to happen.

Q: If you could ask the candidates another question tonight, what would it be?

Karl: You stumped me. I honestly don't know. Maybe "Do you think we could speed up the debate and end it sooner?"

In the end, I left the conversation thinking that Karl Becker was a genuinely nice dude.

He even said he doesn't get why anyone would care what he thinks about the candidates.

Trump and Clinton go in for the handshake. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"There was a person over my shoulder (at the debate). He's a neurosurgeon ... The gentleman sitting to my left, he was a Ph.D. student in neuroscience."

No one interviewed those people, Karl said.

But there's a reason his debate question elicited such a response two weeks ago.

In the midst of one of the nastiest and most shocking presidential elections in recent history, we all yearn for the days when the candidates actually respected one another and where the choice ultimately came down to substantive policy differences — not which candidate you thought was more or less likely to destroy the country.

We care what Karl thinks because he reminds us that after this massive dumpster fire of an election burns out, we'll all need to find a way to coexist with one another again.

The Shane and Darcy Beckers of the world deserve that much.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

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