Two Men Give Free Advice at White Rock Lake

Two friends answer stranger's questions

By Julie Tam
|  Sunday, Nov 6, 2011  |  Updated 7:52 PM CDT
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Thousands have sought their wisdom for more than 16 years.

Julie Tam

Thousands have sought their wisdom for more than 16 years.

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Among the people taking a stroll or fishing at White Rock Lake in Dallas, sits one or two men with a sign that says "FREE ADVICE" and stuffed animals bearing the message "Live well, laugh often, love much."

Every Sunday like clockwork, the two friends give free advice to random strangers. Either one or both of them are out there, and they've been doing it for 16 years.

"Your job in life that you've been working pretty hard at already is a good job," Roderick MacElwain told one woman.

It's the kind of advice he gives out with Neal Caldwell, who had to leave early this Sunday. They don't consider it counseling, but rather a dialogue.

"People have a great deal of internal wisdom and intelligence, if they can quiet down the tension inside them that makes them very nervous about, like 'Should I take the job in Chicago' or 'Should I get married?' or 'Should I run a marathon?'" said MacElwain

The "free advice guys" started it as an experiment to see how people think. MacElwain is a semi-retired management consultant.

"And we kind of liked it. And we thought, hey, we're doing a good service here," said MacElwain.

More than 15,000 people have sat in their chairs along the Lawther Drive side of the lake to get advice on some of life's biggest questions.

"People think I'm great and I'm funny and I'm smart. Why am I still single?" asked Jennifer Fehmel, who regularly runs around the lake for exercise.

"Why am I single?" MacElwain repeated. "Because you're strong, there are a bunch of men that wouldn't be comfortable with you."

The advice doesn't just go one way. People stop by to listen and share.

"You got to look for the right place where these guys hang out," one man advised Fehmel.

MacElwain and Caldwell have missed only three Sundays in the past 16 years. They come out, rain or shine. They say giving free advice has changed them as much as they've changed others. So they want to do it as long as they can.

"I think we are nicer, kinder, gentler, more capable people," said MacElwain.

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