Daily Planet Raises Over $5K For 'Walking Dude'
August 31, 2016 by Andrew Schneider
The elusive and mysterious Chicago character known as the "Walking Dude" became a little less mysterious following an incident earlier this summer when he was beaten in an unprovoked attack and Daily Planet's team raised $5,500 to help him.
There was an outpouring of sympathy across the city and within the creative community for Joseph Kromelis, and Daily Planet's Scott Marvel was inspired, as well as challenged, to produce a t-shirt to help the Walking Dude.
"It was really Snake Roth (at MarcUSA) who said on Facebook, 'Scott Marvel, I think we need a t-shirt here,'" Marvel said. "I thought about it and decided, I guess she's right."
So Marvel connected with his friend and designer Jason Wyatt Frederick to design a logo, Daily Planet donated the cost of the shirts and less than 24 hours later, they were up for sale at Marvel's giveashirt.net page.
"I went out of town and my phone went blink, blink, blink with orders," he recalled. "I don’t know how many orders we had that first day but there’s just something about that guy."
Once they'd filled all the orders they had another problem: how to get the money to the Walking Dude. "He doesn’t have a phone, we don’t know where he lives and at the time he was in the hospital," Marvel recalled. "We reached out to his nephew but he was inundated with media calls."
So Marvel was planning on taking the check and simply watching downtown for him to walk by. But, ultimately, he got a call from a friend who saw him and put the Walking Dude on the phone.
"So I told him, we did this t-shirt and I've got a check for you for $5,500 dollars," Marvel said. "He said, thanks, give it to my nephew and asked if I had his number. Then we said goodbye."
So Marvel wrote the check to the nephew and thought that was that. Then one day he was heading to lunch when his office called and told him the Walking Dude was there looking for him.
"The elevators doors opened and there he was," Marvel said. "It’s a weird thing - he’s so ubiquitous - it was like meeting a rockstar. He had a piece of paper and a magnifying glass with my name and address."
Marvel invited him in to meet people and even gave him a shirt. But he thinks the Dude has lost none of his mystery.
"What’s his deal?" Marvel asked. "He’s one of these people that are like ghosts in the city but this guy was such a background character for our industry. That's why I think people were so moved to help him. Everybody gave, everybody got a shirt and this guy got a check for 5500 bucks. I’m just glad Snake called me out."