Aside from the fact that he is a music legend, rocker Jon Bon Jovi has done some pretty amazing things. I admire his philanthropic efforts and wish I could be more like him, and his wife, Dorothea.
It’s probably not that easy to stay grounded and live any sort of typical-down-to-earth-Americana sort of life when you’re one of the biggest rock and roll stars of all time. I recently read an interview where both Bon Jovi and his wife said the guy people see on stage really doesn’t exist. Apparently, the real Jon Bon Jovi is nothing like the one who rocks out wearing black leather vests and baring his chest to mobs of screaming females throughout the world.
Real Jon is your next-door-neighbor type of guy. In fact, he and his wife still live in Jersey. He claims to hate Hollywood and says he avoids it whenever he can – and, if he does have to go there, he keeps his bags packed and door locked.
Dorothea was Jon’s high school sweetheart, and according to him, is the “glue” that holds his life together. In a world where celebrities seem to rack up divorces faster than you can say, “Livin’ on a Prayer,” Mr. And Mrs. Jon Bon Jovi have been married almost 30 years, and have four children. That’s really sayin’ somethin’ nowadays.
None of those things are what I had in mind when I wrote the title of this article; however, all of that is super cool, too! What I really wanted to share that I think is so awesome about Bon Jovi is the restaurant he and his beloved bride own and run together.
It’s a “pay what you can” restaurant that brings affluent patrons together with those in need. Everyone is welcome to sit and enjoy wonderful meals with dignity, but the only ones paying actual money at the register are those who are able to do so. In fact, you can “pay it forward” by purchasing your own food, and a gift card to pay for another person’s meal.
If you have no means to dine out, you can still eat at Bon Jovi’s “Soul Kitchen.” You simply “pay” for your food by participating with staff, clearing tables, tending to the garden or washing dishes (which is reportedly one of Bon Jovi’s favorite things to do).
I saw a video the other day of a woman who is suffering from late staged cancer. Her single most dream in life has always been to meet Jon Bon Jovi. A recent surprise was given to this dear woman, when she sat down to eat at the restaurant and Bon Jovi himself came out to join her at her table. There he goes, being super cool again.
I’ve often told my husband and children that I wish we could just open the doors of our home every day and welcome in anyone who needs a place to rest, a drink of water or a good, healthy home-cooked meal. People are always saying how you can’t do such things because the world is too dangerous and it’s not safe to allow strangers to wander in and out of your home.
I suppose there’s a bit of truth to those statements. But, I still think Jon Bon Jovi took a really super cool idea and ran with it. He and his wife are inspirations. They have used their fame and fortune to help others.
Who knows? Maybe my dream of having my own “soul kitchen” will come true, someday. In the meantime, I’m thankful for Bon Jovi’s music, and for the other gifts he and his wife are sharing to make the world a better place.
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.