The year was 2012. The location, The Nerd Machine’s Comic-Con adjacent event, Nerd HQ. And with what seemed at the time was an innocuous question posed by actor, proud Canadian, and part-time space cowboy, Nathan Fillion, a tradition was born.
“I say that’s worth… five bucks?”
Nathan Fillion’s Bag o’ Crap Auctions
These auctions (with an occasional assist from Alan Tudyk and his Bag o’ Shit) have become something of a staple during his panels at Nerd HQ where all the proceeds raised are donated to Operation Smile.
(If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Fillion, you may find him in such things as Castle, Much Ado About Nothing, Waitress, Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, and a little something called Firefly & Serenity. Thanks, IMDb!)
The items found in Nathan’s wondrous bags ranged from jars of Vegemite to a bike lock (retail price: $12.99), a boomerang to a bottle of Buckley’s cough syrup.
Plus oodles of swag from his various projects: sides, posters, fanart, photos, shirts (Mr. Fillion LOVES his pima cotton), action figures, and more. As if that wasn’t enough, he also has thrown in his personal business cards, his infamous parking magnets, selfies, sweaty hugs, and the ultimate prize, a Fillion kiss (those go for a grand a pop).
Nerds opened their hearts and wallets. Some tried to bid their firstborn child, others their very soul (Note: Operation Smile can do very little with a person’s soul). And a number of bidding wars broke out over the course of seven auctions but one, in particular, involving a shiny Gryffindor jersey, remains one of my favourite Nerd HQ moments.
Jimmy and Whitney
You can watch the entire showdown in its entirety unfold in the following video. There’s even a funny moment where Whitney makes a desperate move to buy “anything” in Nathan’s bag and he pulls out a packet of Crystal Light.
The overwhelming generosity of nerds uniting together, helped Whitney claim the coveted prize and as a result, three surgeries were donated to Operation Smile.
But that wasn’t the end of this story. Two years later, the lovely Whitney returned to Nerd HQ with $440 (the amount that was pooled together for her jersey) in hand and gave that money to a fellow nerd, who couldn’t otherwise afford to, the opportunity to buy something from Nathan’s nerdtastical bag
Relive the moment here:
Folks like Whitney and Jimmy are why I love the nerd community and why it has such a special place in my heart. Nerding it forward. It’s a beautiful thing.
Oh and in case you’re wondering, the cumulative total raised so far from these magical auctions (yes, I did the math), drum roll, please… Thirty-six thousand dollars. That’s a three and a six followed by three zeros!!! Translation: 150 smiles, 150 operations for children with cleft lips or cleft palates, 150 lives changed forever.
Thank you, Captain.