Synopsis: G-Ride is a 23-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 years.
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-methaddict to Mr. Incredible, Mike “G-Ride” is a Chico Icon who makes people smile and see there is goodness and love in the world.
I was walking around downtown Chico, eating my coconut frozen yogurt from Jon & Bon’s, when I heard this music growing louder and louder. I turned my head and see this guy driving a pedicab with a dog perched on the front in a basket. “What an asshole,” I thought to myself. I asked my friends who he was. The responses were varied: “I think he’s some homeless dude.” “Some coke-head, but I think he’s clean now.” “That’s not even his dog.” Everyone I was with knew something about him, but no one knew the same thing about him. There was only one thing consistent: “That’s Mike G-Ride!” It wasn’t hard to find him (his phone number is on every side of his pedicab and he blasts a rap song that begins with his number. “I want to film you. Everyone in Chico seems to know something about you, but no one knows all about you.” We started filming and the more I got to know Mike G-Ride, the more amazing his story got. I was so happy to be filming in Chico, my hometown. To be back on the streets downtown, trodding the steps of my junior high and high school days, was an exhilarating and thrilling feeling! I love Chico and the older I get, the closer I am to it. I sat on the back of Mike’s pedicab and felt the energy he brings to the community. Truly invigorating. Now, two years after our first shoot, G-Ride will premiere. It’s been inspiring to get to know Mike, and I’m thankful for his faith and support in allowing me tell his story.
Director, Producer, Cinematographer, Editor
Keith is a documentary film producer and director. He produced his first film, A Certain Kind of Light in 2015 and has been consumed with filmmaking ever since. Passionate about life and searching for the meaning in it, he is a hospital chaplain and has been with thousands of people as they grapple with sickness, disease, death, and dying. Keith approaches people as he does his filmmaking: as great, living human stories. He believes everyone has a story they want to tell, but so few people take the time to ask. G-Ride is his second film, and his directorial debut. He is co-owner of MNT Studios.
Chico Independent Film Festival - United States - 2019
Best in Show (G-Ride: The Mike Griffith Story)
Front Range Film Festival - United States - 2020
Best Editing (Keith Wakefield)