Kevin Oleze: Everyone’s Big Brother By Laurel Haspert
In the summer of 2013,
service windows cut of of them. A line formed around I went to Los Angeles, California with the Silicon Valley the building. My carpool filed Skrewts, as one of their staff into it and got to the front of the line. Kevin’s friend photographers. The first night of the tournament, af- Chris, had frequented Donut ter playing an intense game Man in college. He told me of resistance, my roommates it’s tradition that first the and other friends decided to person who shows you Donut Man has to pay for your go to Donut Man. We took donut. I did not see any reatwo cars there, since it was son to argue with that. I let a 20 minute drive. Chris, Ra, him give the cashier money Logan and I piled into one in exchange for fried doughy car; Kevin, Kyrie and Miles took the second one. Our car goodness. As we leave cash regarrived first. The entire build- ing is smaller than your aver- ister, I heard someone from age Starbucks. Tall windows the line greet their friends, and say: “You know, if you line the walls, with smaller
had left when we did, you wouldn’t have to wait in such a long line”. Maybe it was because it was two in the morning, or maybe it was the way they said it, but I couldn’t stop myself from laughing. My carpool looks at me oddly and I recapped what I just heard. Being as sleep deprived as I was, they laughed along. Shortly after, Kevin and his carpool arrive. Jokingly, I yelled “You know, if you had left when we did, you wouldn’t have to wait in such a long line”. . They, too, chuckle. After I finished my
donut, Chris and I get back in line to purchase breakfast for 5 hours.. As we’re standing in line, Kevin repeats the phrase back at us. After this happens a couple more times, our group is in hysterics. At one point, Logan, who’s a very picky eater, finds a donut that he likes so much and was eating so quickly that he swallows part of a tine from his plastic fork. That called for another round of laughter. Weeks later, while celebrating a friends birthday, Kevin and Kyrie arrive a little late and sit at my end of the table. Everyone else at the restaurant had already ordered and it was clear that the two of them would either have to track down a waiter, or wait for other peoples’ food to be delivered. With a wicked smile on my face, I turned to them, looked them straight in the eyes, and say, “you know, if you had left when I did, you wouldn’t have to wait in such a long line.” For the first time, I’m included in one of the inside jokes made by this group of friends. Even now, I smile because it was Kevin who had convinced me to go down to L.A. Born and raised in Phoenix Arizona, Kevin Oel-
ze is the middle child of the three Oelze children. He attended All Saints Episcopal Day School where he was the valedictorian of his graduating class. At Phoenix Country Day school, he was ranked in the top 5 of his class and pursued classes that ranged from AP statistics to stage combat. He played on the Varsity baseball team for 4 years, the basketball team for 3 years, was a choir member, and participated in a school play and a musical. In 2009, he graduated from Harvey Mudd with a joint degree in Math and Computer Science. He moved to Silicon Valley and worked for a startup called Fanfair for a couple years, until they were bought out by Spirent communication, where he continues to be employed today. In his free time, he coaches the Silicon Valley Skrewts Quidditch team and hosts hangout nights in his apartment, where all are welcome. Kevin found true friends in college after years of feeling isolated and excluded., Kevin set out to create an environment in which he wouldn’t have people feel excluded.
His open door policy means that anyone is welcome to hang out at his apartment and they don’t have to have a personal invitation. His hospitality applies to the Quidditch community, and it is extended to the friends and relatives of his friends as well. In return for giving friends a place to hang out, he only asks that they stay quiet after 10pm and wash any dishes that they use. It’s a small price in return for a welcoming fun environment. Guests go out of their way to show their gratitude by bringing snacks or new and interesting board games to share with the group who made Kevin’s apartment their new home.
Throughout his school career, Kevin always felt sort of out of place. As someone who enjoyed classes and more importantly enjoyed learning, he became isolated from his peers. Often he felt like he was friends with whoever would have him as a friend. Whether or not they were particularly good friends wasn’t as much of a concern as having someone to keep him company. When interacting with groups of friends, Kevin was always concerned with respecting everyone’s boundaries. However, he questioned whether he was really part of a group. At times where everyone would go out and do something, he would refrain from going because he did not get a specific invitation. Other times, his ‘friends’ would assume he knew the plans or assume he knew he was
welcome at anytime and would withhold information about the plans. Some time after moving from Claremont to Mountain View, Kevin started playing Quidditch with the Silicon Valley Skrewts. In their earliest years, they were not as tight-knit as they are now, but they often participated in activities after practice. First, they’d go to In-n-Out, followed by some down-time either at the park or back at someone’s apartment. Usually, they’d watch movies or play board games for hours. Soon, Kevin felt more at home than he had been. He had met people who also came from a nerdy academic background who were also looking for friends with similar tastes and humor. He started offering his apartment as a hangout place for after practices. Inviting people over allowed him to introduce them to his favorite games, movies, and activities that he’d always enjoyed but other peers hadn’t always been to keen
on trying. Kevin met his girlfriend Kyrie four years ago when a mutual friend brought them together for Karaoke. Besides being impressed with his extensive knowledge of show tunes, Kyrie found that their similar taste in books and movies made Kevin one interesting guy. When Kevin joined the Silicon Valley Skrewts in summer of 2011, he was pleasantly surprised to meet Kyrie again. As time went by, the two of them found themselves talking more and spending a lot of time together. For Kyrie, one particular summer morning stuck out. The core group of the Quidditch team had been known to hang out regularly outside from practice. Earlier in the week, Kevin had tried to invite them over for Sun-
day afternoon but everyone claimed to be busy. Even Kyrie, who had ended up sleeping on Kevin’s couch the previous night, claimed she had to meet her sister in the city for a Dim Sum brunch, a meal that doesn’t exist. Kyrie thanked and said goodbye to Kevin that morning and left him to be alone in his apartment. She then met up with two of the other members of their tight-knit group in the parking lot and got to work. Between Costco and Kyrie’s mom being a teacher they had gathered enough post-it notes to completely cover Kevin’s SUV. They spelled out their names as well as hearts and “KEV” across the rear windshield. After their work was done, Kyrie called him and asked him to meet her by the car. Surprised that she wasn’t actually in San Francisco, as she had claimed to be, Kevin rushed down to his car. For him it was a moment of being happily shocked to have his friends go out of their way to surprise him. And it made Kyrie all that more special. In the fall of 2011, Kyrie left the bay area for film
school in England. Even though she was learning a lot and having a wonderful time, she still got homesick every now and then. Kevin, however, is the kind of person who leaves their Skype on while he’s at work and stays up until odd hours of the night so he made sure she’s have someone to talk to. According to Kyrie, she and Kevin rarely went more than
came back from England with her film degree, and rejoined the Skrewts, which in that time had grown a bit larger. As they were trying to grow as a team, Kevin and Kyrie maintained their friendship as well as the level of communication they had grown accustomed to when she was away. In January of 2013, the two became a couple and have been going strong ever since. Kyrie is an active member in many of Kevin’s game nights and sort of works as a bridge in order to get other girls to play boardgames. She’s very welcoming and smart, and will try to help you with whatever it is you’re trying to do; whether you’re trying to understand the rules to figuring out how to screw over the other players. Kevin continues to a day without talking. As the emphasize his open-door polyear came to an end, Kyrie icy. His generosity ensures went to go visit her relatives that no one ever has to ask in Sweden for the holidays. if they’re invited when they Only a couple cousins spoke hear their friends talking English, and on top of that, it about going over to Kevin’s. was her first Christmas away His hospitality extends to from her family. But where people staying the night. there was an internet conHe makes sure that people nection, Kevin was there for always have a place to go, her. if they need it, or can find a In the fall of 2012, Kyrie good time when they want
it. While his objective is not to give everyone a vacation spot on his carpeted floor; what he really wants is for everyone to feel safe and that they’re part of a group.
rumors were true. The two groggy friends sat down next to me and chatted with hoarse voices. I used our Donut Man catch phrase to make them chuckle with the little voice they had left. In July 2013, I went a When they finally were birthday dinner for one of the able to place their order, I girls on the Quidditch team. extended my condolences A group of people, who in 6 for their sickness. Kevin told months had become family me a story from when Kyrie to me, sat around the table sent him to the store to get in the backroom of a Japafood for dinner. Kevin’s apart-
he needed help. When he explained he was looking for the the honey, the employee lead him to it directly. Next, Kevin estimated what food will last two days, and brought it home. Kyrie helped Kevin unload the groceries. To her amazement, he had bought a 5lb bag of rice and two packages of salmon: each a foot and a half long. She asked him why he bought so much
nese restaurant. At my end of the table, sat a couple guys who had been known to be game night regulars talked about something I can’t remember. About 30 minutes after everyone’s food was delivered, Kevin and Kyrie arrived. Rumor was they had gotten sick after the Quidditch convention they attended earlier, and the
food; he thought the two of them would easily be able to eat it. At that point, everyone within listening distance at the restaurant was chuckling, including Kyrie despite her sore throat. Kevin said,
ment doesn’t have a dining table or any chairs. More often than not he eats out. Kyrie had already sent him to the store to get honey for her tea, and she decided to make him dinner. Her instructions were to get enough salmon and rice for the next two nights. He wandered across the store 2 or 3 times before an employee asked if
“Guys, you don’t
understand. The sign said ‘Buy Big and Save.’”