Chris Koch was born without arms and legs. He never let that stand in the way of anything he wanted to do.
“There have been times when I did not even realize I was missing arms and legs,” he said.
“I just went about my day to day. I played street hockey with everyone else, I played baseball, I went to a regular school.”
Koch, 39, started a motivational speaking career several years ago. He now channels most of his energy on his website.
His latest endeavour is inspiring kindness in Canadians, by hitchhiking across the country.
Two weeks ago, he left Calgary on his skateboard and with nothing more than a small backpack.
For someone who doesn’t accept rides past 6 p.m., he has hitched at least 12 rides and in almost two weeks he made it to Montreal.
“Do as many kind things as you can for other people and it will come back to you,” he said from a coffee shop south of Montreal.
“And just get out there and live life to the fullest.”
He is documenting his journey on Facebook and his story has been shared many times over. The last few days, people have offered rides to him through his Facebook page.
On Thursday morning, he met Lorraine Bonneau outside a Tim Horton’s near Montreal and she offered him a lift to Quebec City. Bonneau said she has a daughter whose leg was amputated and she was inspired to help him.
“His Facebook page is ‘If I can’ — If he can, we can so yes it’s great,” she said.
Koch said he isn’t raising money on this journey, he simply wants to raise awareness about kindness. He says occasionally people have given him money to buy a sandwich or water. He plans on donating the amount he’s given to the War Amps when he returns to Alberta.
“If a guy with no arms and legs can snowboard, surf, travel around the world, hitchhike across Canada…if I can do those things — anyone is capable of anything.”
Koch hopes to reach Newfoundland by the end of July since he has a wedding in Calgary he has to go to.
While he says he realizes he’s inspiring Canadians, he has also been by the kindness he’s been shown during the trip. He says it helps him to never give up.