G-Ride is a 22-minute short-form documentary film about the struggles of homelessness, recovery, and the death of someone close for Mike “G-Ride” Griffith, a pedicab driver in the college town of Chico, California. From sleeping under picnic tables, skinny-dipping in the community pool and his addiction to methamphetamines, Mike “G-Ride” has worked hard to become who he is today: Chico “Best Local Personality” and “Best Cab Company” for the last four consecutive years.
Mike was raised in foster homes until he aged out of the foster system. He went to live with his grandparents, however they both died when he was 19 years old. So he found himself without a home and living on the streets in Chico. He found community with the city’s homeless and shortly thereafter, someone introduced him to methamphetamines. Addicted, homeless, jobless, and no one to help him, Mike hit his rock bottom. One night, he was skinny-dipping in the community pool and he saw someone drive up on a pedicab. Mike asked if he could learn how to drive one and the next day began driving around downtown Chico. He found he could make some money and perhaps work his way off the streets. He began dressing up as different characters so little kids could meet their heroes: a Troll, or Mr. Incredible. Now twelve years sober, Mr. Incredible (Mike) sings “Happy Birthday” to a boy at the pool where he used to go skinny-dipping.
The film’s narrative tells the intersection of Mike’s life with Kristina Chesterman—a Chico State nursing student who was riding her bike home from school and was hit by a drunk driver. She died four days later. Mike reached out to the family to start a bike safety and drunk driving awareness event. A few months after Mike and Kristina’s parents began planning the event, Kristina’s mom, Sandra, found a picture of Kristina on the back of Mike’s pedicab, holding Mike’s dog, Lil’ G. The picture was from the night before Kristina was hit. Mike was Kristina’s last safe ride home. Kristina was a donor, and her pancreas and one of her kidneys went to one of Mike’s friends from high school.
G-Ride concludes with Mike talking about the daily struggle to stay clean, the impact he has on the community, and their love for him as his motivation to keep riding. From a homeless-meth-addict to Mr. Incredible, Mike “G-Ride” is a Chico Icon who makes people smile and see there is goodness and love in the world.