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Wayne Westerberg is the owner of a grain elevator in Carthage, South Dakota, who meets McCandless when he picks him up hitchhiking in 1990. Wayne hired Chris on as a grain worker. He really became fond of Chris over time,
"He was the hardest worker I've ever seen... if he started a job, he'd finish it... He read a lot. Used a lot of big words. I think maybe part of what got him into trouble was that he did too much thinking... he always had to know the absolute right answer before he could go on to the next thing."
Wayne was very much a father figure to Chris but really on an intellectual level rather than actually having an impact on Chris's life choices.