Cross-country walker encourages good in us

There is good in the world, and Thomas Francine is out to prove it.

Francine, a 26-year-old Woodbridge, N.J., resident, passed through Tiffin Wednesday during his walking trek from Portland, Maine, to San Diego.

He said he is trying to promote the idea that there is a lot of good in the world – maybe a lot more than people realize. He said he also is trying to encourage people to perform acts of kindness for others and even for themselves.

Francine is performing acts of kindness throughout his journey.

“I have a different thing I do each week,” he said.

Francine’s act of kindness this week was purchasing food for the homeless in the Cleveland area. He bid farewell to Lake Erie last week, according to his website.

In the past, he has hitchhiked 26,000 miles to sites around the world, and he said the experience gave him the realization that there is much more good than he realized. He said he meets good and friendly people everywhere he goes.

Francine said he left from the ocean in Maine July 8 and plans to arrive on the West Coast in January.

“(I’m) just walking, just walking the whole way,” he said.

He has been averaging 20 miles per day on the 3,200-mile trek and had traveled 850 miles as of Wednesday morning.

He said he has taken a few breaks and has had five 27-mile days.

“I can’t seem to get past 27,” he said.

Francine, who is traveling with a stroller containing a sleeping bag, tent, clothing, food, water and hygiene items, does a lot of camping throughout his travels. He said he does not ask, but people have offered him the chance to stay with them. He said he declines when people offer him money, but some will insist.

“I have some winter stuff (with me),” he said.

Francine said he spent three years as a caregiver and could return to his job upon completion of his travels.

Matthew Kiser, who was heading home from school during his lunch period Wednesday, stopped to greet Francine in the parking lot of Pit Stop, 321 E. Perry St. He said he recognized the sign on Francine’s back from Tuesday, when Francine talked to his dad at their home.

“(We live) just off of 101,” he said.

Kiser, whose dad gave Francine $20, never had met anyone doing a cross-country trek before, and he said he thought Francine’s cause was a great idea.

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