KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- He grew up poor, lost several family members to suicide and was beaten because of his sexual orientation. But a Kansas City man has found a way to mask the trauma in life and turn it into a sweet deed.
David McGee is a work of art.
“Since I was little, I’ve always known and said, ‘David your life is not normal.’”
His art is on display at Retro Inferno (1500 Grand Blvd) in downtown Kansas City. McGee created most of his artwork while on the job. He was a chiropractor for more than 20 years.
“You know people who are chiropractic people; they understand the body," he said.
One day, McGee had a difficult time understanding his body. His father died, and he started having anxiety attacks. Art was his release.
“I’d cut the paper out,” he said. “I would do this in between patients.”
What’s now on display is the result of five years of drawings and thoughts.
McGee retired June 1, but his patients and love of art continue to pay it forward. McGee’s unconventional billing method also ties into this.
“It would be so frustrating, cause I started off doing insurance for like a year or so, and they would say, ‘We’re not covering this. We’re not doing this,’ so the patient couldn’t come see me,” McGee said. “And I thought you know what, I can make it and survive if I tell them you just pay what you can afford and we’re not going to do insurance. That way they get the care they need, and I’ve always made my bills and had money left over.”
McGee would oftentimes use leftover money from his office to buy his favorite childhood snacks.
“When I was a little kid, Little Debbie was the only thing we could afford,” he said. “We were really poor, so Little Debbie to me was always a joy. A highlight.”
The sweet treats would often be followed by traumatic experiences.
“My mom’s mother, all her sisters, all committed suicide.”
Through it all, McGee still manages to hang onto the sweeter things in life. Only to dress up as his alter ego and let them go.
For a few hours every week for the last 35 years, David McGee becomes Dr. Moo Moo, a masked man seen parading around the streets of downtown Kansas City. Several years passed before even his closest friends knew.
With his mask on and black blazer with a huge button bearing his alter ego’s name, Dr. Moo Moo walks around, asking nearly everyone in his path a question: Are you happy?
He also asks them to smile in exchange for a Little Debbie snack.
41 Action News spent a few hours with Dr. Moo Moo as he stopped folks along Grand, Main, and Broadway Streets. Some people just ignored him. Others engaged in conversation.
But for some, the conversation became life-altering.
Every week, Dr. Moo Moo finds one person truly down on his or her luck and gives them $100. After talking with a married couple, he gave the woman a $100 bill. She’s battled epilepsy her entire life because of her mother’s drug addiction (she said her mother was pregnant with her and still using drugs). With the extra money, she and her husband plan to buy much-needed groceries.
Since Dr. Moo Moo was on vacation the week before, he gave out two $100 bills that day.
“Do you live in Kansas City, Kansas?” Dr. Moo Moo asked an unsuspecting woman.
Her name is Angel. She shared with him that she recently gave birth to twins. They’re six months old now. Angel takes three buses to work every day to take care of her babies.
After a few minutes of walking and talking, Dr. Moo Moo asked, “Do you need a little boost for the babies?”
Angel nodded yes and cried uncontrollably after he handed her a hundred dollars.
Angel said she could now afford to get real formula and diapers for her boys.
For Dr. Moo Moo, handing out cosmic brownies and other Little Debbie snacks is an “out of this world” experience.
David McGee may be the retired chiropractor turned artist, but Dr. Moo Moo possesses the true art – the art of kindness.