He’s an old hippie. She’s a kindred spirit.
Gale McCray, 75, of Fort Worth – better known as the Old Man With a Sign – was recently in Missouri City for a few days to meet Karen Fonseca and see the f— Trump sticker on her pickup truck.
“I wanted, you know, just to meet her,” McCray said.
Along the way it gave him an excuse to visit his sons in Waco and San Antonio.
“The f— Trump lady. That’s not my deal. My message is about as far away from that as it can get,” he said, noting that they do share a common desire to have President Donald Trump removed from office.
McCray has become an Internet sensation by traveling around the country and standing on street corners with his sign that reads “Trump, that boy don’t act right.”
“It’s crazy. How it got started? – Trump got elected,” he said.
McCray is a retired mailman, recreational therapist, and school bus driver. He was unhappy when Trump was elected a year ago and went to see his representative in Congress, but wasn’t satisfied with the response.
“I gotta do something,” he said.
He thought about it for a while before coming up with the idea.
“There’s a little bit of a ham in me so I thought well, just make a sign and make it big.
I’m glad I made it big. Makes it real simple, real sturdy,” he said.
He started out holding the sign at an intersection about five or six blocks from where he lives in low-income senior housing.
“I’ll stand at this intersection … and I’ll do it every once and a while as it hits me, that’s it,” McCray said.
Then one day someone posted a picture of him and his sign on social media.
“I know about social media but I never experienced it,” he said.
The picture went viral.
“It kept me going, just kept snowballing,” he said. “I knew it was over the top a little bit when a New Zealand radio station contacted me and said ‘can we do a short interview?’”
People kept posting pictures and McCray’s fame grew on social media. Now he helps operate a Facebook page called Old Man With a Sign.
“Somebody said you need to go to Washington, D.C., and I said all right,” he said.
His co-administrator of the Facebook page suggested he start GoFundMe account to fund the trip and he raised $2,000 in two days.
He went around Washington for a while but never made contact with the press. He said people loved taking pictures with the sign. He even caught the attention of and befriended noted activist Annabel Park. When he does travel, he likes to drive and spread his message along the way.
“I have a Prius and I sleep in the back if I have to,” he said.
Usually he will put out the word of where he is going and he’ll get volunteers to take him in for a night or two.
His first newspaper coverage came in a paper in Paris, Texas. Since then he’s had coverage almost everywhere he’s gone except his hometown of Lawton, Okla.
“The editor, I talked to him, he interviewed me, took a photograph. Never did a story,” he said.
He later found out the publisher nixed the story fearing reaction in the heavily Republican area.
On a trip to Lawton, McCray said he had his most emotional experience. He stopped in a Dairy Queen in Nocona and the girl at the counter commented on his button with the same message. He gave her one with the condition that she agree to wear it, which she gladly did. Knowing what an outcast that could make her in her community, he went back to his car and wept, praising her courage.
He said every once and a while police will try to stop him, but they back off when they realize they don’t have a legal leg to stand on. He said he gets a lot of reaction from passersby.
“I usually write about how many middle fingers I get,” he said. “I acknowledge the positive things, too.”
He said he sees himself as the messenger. It’s his message that resonates with people.
“I’m not trying to change anybody. I can’t do that, I’m not that good. That’s a futile effort. What I am doing is saying we’re here and we’re not going away,” he said.
He said he isn’t motivated by politics but the character of the man in the White House.
“I wouldn’t do this if it was a regular Republican. Trump is different. Trump is just different,” he said.
McCray sells buttons and T-shirts to fund his travels.
“I wish they’d put me out of a job and get rid of him,” he said.
In the meantime, “I’m just riding a wave.”