Have you ever walked up to a complete stranger and asked, "What's your story?" If so, you'd likely get a raised eyebrow and a suspicious look followed by a very brisk walk in the opposite direction. 

But every once in a while you'll strike gold. You'll learn about someone's victories, losses, first love, heartbreak or that defining moment that changed their life forever. You'll get a story you won't hear from anyone else.

That's First Coast YOU -- a raw look into the lives of the people who make up our community. 

It's when I, armed with only a camera, mic and a notebook, walk up to unsuspecting strangers, wherever they may be, and ask them, "What's your story?"

It sounds silly, but it's how I learned about a Riverside massage therapist named Zach Motes and how he found his passion for healing after losing his infant son.

"In 2011, my wife and I lost our first child," he said. "I spent a lot of time grieving that and just not knowing how to heal and, I guess, feeling lost for a while."

First Coast YOU: Zach Motes and the art of healing

It's how I learned about the grandmother who inspired Jacksonville International Aiport keyboardist Roger Glover and why he prays to her every morning.

"The persistence of my grandmother [got me into music]," he said. "She says 'One day, you're going to thank me,' and I said, 'No, it'll be a cold day in purgatory.' But every morning, I get up now and I say a prayer to my grandmother. 'Thank you, Grandmother. Thank you!'"

First Coast YOU: Roger Glover, the man behind the keyboard at JIA

I'm fortunate to work with Ken Amaro every day, but that's how I learned that he grew up in a family of 10 and that his own struggles help him to connect with the people who come to him for help.

"My mom had to be the sole provider for all of us," he said. "I can relate to individuals who are forced to learn how to stretch a dollar until it's so thin."

First Coast YOU: Ken Amaro opens up; 'I can relate to individuals who struggle'

First Coast YOU shows that whether it's your next-door neighbor on the Eastside, the person bagging your groceries in St. Augustine, or the man selling comics in Riverside --  everyone has a story waiting to be shared.

So if you see a girl with a First Coast News shirt toting a camera, mic and a notebook, don't be alarmed.

I'm only going to ask, "What's your story?"

First Coast YOU offers a glimpse into the people who make up our community. If you or someone you know has a story to tell, send an email to Erica Santiago esantiago@firstcoastnews.com or follow Erica on Twitter @erica_news.

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