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It was late in the morning on Feb. 1, 2013, when Caleb Lawrence McGillivary met Jesus Christ on a highway outside Bakersfield.
McGillivary had been on the road a good while by then, having left his home in Alberta as a teenager to find his own way in the world. He’d gone back at times, back to his family, back to school or work, but that kind of routine never suited him for long, and by the early months of 2013, he was drifting once again. Not homeless, he would tell people. Home free.
He’d hitchhiked through provinces and states, walked over mountains and across borders. He moved as the mood took him, sleeping under bridges and in vans and on boats and couches, working when he had to, finding friends and parties and beaches to surf along the way.
He called himself Kai, unless the authorities were asking, in which case he was Edward Carl Nicodemus or whatever other series of monikers might come to mind. He was 24 years old. The road had turned him lean and luminous, burnished golden by dirt and sun.