He may be Lethbridge’s favourite inflatable companion.
Mr. Lethbridge, the anonymous persona known only by the image of a mustached blow-up doll, has floated around the local social media scene for the past few years, posting silly one-liners and funny links. Hiding behind the air-filled funny man is someone who cares a lot about Lethbridge and those who live here. I decided to interview Mr. Lethbridge (via e-mail, of course) to get to know more about the person behind the plastic.
A Lethbridgian View: What made you want to become “Mr. Lethbridge” in the first place?
Mr. Lethbridge: When I was a kid, I grew up with a vivid imagination. I had a blanket that made me invisible, and blue underwear that turned me into a superhero. I lived in a couch fort that transformed into a fantasy world where anything was possible. I had fun.
I became ‘Mr. Lethbridge’ online back in 2007. I created him because I wanted to have fun again, and I wanted to share my dreams with others. I realized that too often people lose their playfulness when they grow up. They get carried away in their responsibilities, fears, and anxiety. I realized this because it was happening to me. So, I decided to create something out of nothing. I decided to create something magical that could be entertaining, limitless, and good for the soul.
ALV: What does Mr. Lethbridge actually do? What’s his purpose in life?
Mr. L: Besides groom his moustache, Mr. Lethbridge does a lot of things such as watch movies with others, take people to concerts, or hold fun events. He is an online personality but he is also a reflection of my life. Some people call him the perfect stranger, and some people call him the perfect friend. He became real when I realized that he could be more than just a joke. A lot of people follow him because of the fact that his identity is a secret. Some people even confide their secrets to him because they view him as being someone neutral. He has helped people with hardships such as depression, loneliness, and even suicide. He builds unique and creative friendships. I want to use him to make the city of Lethbridge a better place through kindness, humour, and love.
ALV: You’ve hosted a few fundraisers in the past. Which causes have you helped as Mr. Lethbridge? Why is this important to you?
Mr. L: Mr. Lethbridge doesn’t just hide behind a computer, but he gets involved. Over the past number of years, Mr. Lethbridge has helped to raise thousands of dollars for different organizations and individuals. He has held several fundraisers for the Chinook Regional Hospital’s Pediatric Unit 5C for sick kids, and also for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Lethbridge. He teamed up with local news anchor Kaela Carr to raise money for The Crohns and Colitis Foundation of Canada. He held a benefit concert for local girl Madison Hirlehey, who has unfortunately lost her battle with cancer. He helped organize donations for a local lady who had lost her home in a house fire. Last year he raised over $1000 for Last Chance Cat Ranch, and he organized several events to donate food and clothing to the homeless.
I have always been passionate about people, no matter what their walk of life is. I believe that if you are passionate about something then you should do it. If you love cooking, then you should cook. If you love writing, then you should write. For me, I love being able to help people and to build people up. If am able to make someone’s life a little better, then I will. If I can put a smile on someones face, then what I am doing is worth it. It’s important for me to give back to others because the simple act of reaching out to someone else turns you both into something connected.
ALV: What has the response been from Lethbridgians about you as Mr. Lethbridge?
Mr. L: Being a blowup doll can be quite controversial, but I like pushing the boundaries. People either love me, or they hate me. Some people are also afraid of the unknown, but I am not out to hurt anyone. I knew that there would be a certain fascination but also public scrutiny by putting Mr. Lethbridge into the public eye. I understand that people follow the things I do and say, and I have to be respectful of that. I am constantly blown away though by how much support Lethbridge has shown me, and continues to show me. There is a lot of love in this city. I couldn’t do any of this without my amazing followers, for they are my inspiration and my heroes.
ALV: I bet that many have tried to guess your real identity. What are some of the most interesting guesses that have been made?
Mr. L: Some of the more entertaining guesses have been Mark Campbell, Dar Heatherington, and former mayor Bob Tarleck.
ALV: Will you ever reveal your true identity?
Mr. L: I’m not sure. I’m still learning who I am for myself.