Over the course of his 90 years, Roland John “Ron” Lehker has worn many hats. He's been a World War II Marine, a basketball player, a teacher, a school principal, a father, a grandfather, a husband, and a retiree. Now, he can add “Reddit guru” to his litany of life achievements.
The Washington Post recently profiled the tech-savvy senior, whose 24-year-old grandson signed him up for Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything” or “AMA” earlier this month. “I Am 90 Years Old – An officer during WWII, a retired educator, and more engaged with society today than I’ve ever been before. AMA!” he posted.
Curious users began responding, and as word spread about Ron’s thread, he started receiving hundreds of questions a day from around the world. (Most non-celebrity Reddit users are lucky to get a handful of replies.) Now, Ron spends his mornings answering a series of wide-ranging personal questions: His thoughts on modern-day politics, what it’s like to have lived both before and after the Civil Rights movement, and which historic fashion trend he’s hated the most, among others. No queries are off-limits.
“As a young person today, I find it really hard to be anything but pessimistic about our current state of affairs … Are things really as bad as they seem? Or do I just lack perspective?” one Reddit user posted. Another asked, “You have seen America change so much … as a black person I’m curious to know if you ever thought we would have a black president? Do you think America is headed in a good direction?” Meanwhile, one person simply asked, “I’m curious, how it feels to get old?"
Ron’s reflections—which he laboriously dictates into a machine that transcribes his answers—range from humorous to poignant. He draws from his wealth of life experiences, hoping that the wisdom of his years will somehow benefit the masses. In turn, he says, Reddit’s free-spirited users help keep him feeling young. To learn more about Ron’s life, or to ask him a question, read the Post’s story online or check out Reddit to view the entire AMA in full.
[h/t The Washington Post]