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Chris meets Ron Franz in Chapter Six, when Franz gave him a ride back to a hobo camp. Franz took a liking to Chris, and they spent a lot of time together during the next month. When Chris left, Franz felt sad and lonely. Chris returned to California after failing to find work in Seattle, and Franz gave him a ride towards his next destination. While they drove, Franz felt that they were close enough friends to ask Chris for a favor:
"When I'm gone, my family will be finished, gone forever. So I asked Alex if I could adopt him, if he would be my grandson."
McCandless, uncomfortable with the request, dodged the question: "We'll talk about it when I get back from Alaska, Ron."
(Krakauer, Into the Wild, Amazon.com)
Part of Chris's journey was to free himself from all personal ties to civilization, and he felt that this request was an extra attachment that he didn't need; he'd taken steps to remain friendly with others but not to become part of their families, and while he wasn't cruel enough to refuse outright, he still made it a non-issue. Franz never saw Chris again, and the news of Chris's death hit him very hard; he adopted some of Chris's philosophies, and died a few years later after traveling the United States.
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