Meet Ashley "The Education Girl" Gonzalez. I am introducing you to her because I was introduced to her Saturday evening shortly after I arrived home from PorchFest. Now, keep in mind that Kevin and I NEVER open the door for anyone who looks like they're selling something. Honestly, door-to-door salespeople drive me insane. And I was fully expecting to teeter on the edge of insanity when Ashley rang my doorbell Saturday.

When she showed up at the door, my dogs do what they always do. They lost their minds. They ran to the front door and started barking at her through the glass.  Ashley was saying something to me, but I couldn't hear her. I could tell she was selling something, but I couldn't tell what it was.  She was talking. The dogs were barking. Our meet and greet was not going well at all.

I'll be extra honest with you. As I was rounding the dogs up and carting them off to the other side of the house, I was composing my dismissal of Ashley in my head. I was trying to figure out how I was going to get her off my front porch in the quickest way possible.

But, then, I met her and was instantly caught off guard by how friendly, fun, sweet and awesome she was. We introduced ourselves. I apologized for my dogs acting like they were auditioning for a reboot of Cujo. I explained to her that we were in the middle of a home renovation and I couldn't invite her in because I had nowhere for her to sit. Then, I asked her what she was selling.

She explained that she was working for Southwestern Advantage this summer and was selling educational materials for children.

I, of course, then had to break the news to her that she had stumbled upon a proudly "childless" home. I could tell she was a touch disappointed because she, rather instinctively said, "Oh, it doesn't apply to you."

Well, that's when Kevin rolled the Telluride into the driveway. We have a home security system and he could hear our conversation from the cameras. Initially, because his disdain for door-to-door salespeople is even worse than mine, he sent me a text saying, "Let me know when she's gone." But, he decided, like I did, that she wasn't that bad at all and he decided to come home and meet her.

We chatted with Ashley for a while. We asked her questions about herself, her college career, her summertime job. She asked questions about our jobs, how long we've been together, etc. We then gave her advice on Owensboro and which neighborhoods we thought she'd have the most luck in.  As she was about to roll on down the street (she was working 7am to 9pm Saturday and it was about 8:20), she mentioned that she did have a couple of books that may apply to us. There was an "All-American" cookbook of some sort and a book of photography that features tons of photos of wildlife.

We told her about our recent trip to Africa and told her that we'd buy the wildlife book from her. The cost? $100. Yep!  We, the people who loathe door-to-door salespeople,  agreed to buy a $100 book from this person.

But you know what? For us, the $100 wasn't really for the book at all. It was an investment in a remarkable young woman who was friendly, smart and incredibly effervescent and hardworking.

Ashley Gonzalez
Ashley Gonzalez

She asked why we were buying the book and our answer back to her was simple. "To help you."

We paid for our book and Ashley told us she would see us at the end of the summer to deliver it to us.  That's how Southwestern Advantage works. She sells the books and the company ships them to her for delivery at the end of her term.

We're already looking forward to seeing her again. I am also excited to see the book we bought. I have no idea it's going to be worth the investment, but it doesn't even matter really. Ashley's worth that investment. When her summer "internship" wraps up, she'll head back to University of Colorado Denver and continue her education. And she'll do it with a bunch of new friends and fans from Owensboro cheering her on.

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