I'm sorry this has taken longer than expected. Some last minute travel precluded me from being as timely as I would have liked. But I wanted to share some of the amazing stories that have poured in from Jason's birthday celebration weekend, which was a huge success. There are many, many people that were touched by these random acts of kindness and we can only imagine how far they spread. One good deed begets another and I hope we can remember to pay it forward every day.
(Photo from Jason's friend Janelle)
"I went the other day to visit an elderly friend who lives in a care center about an hour from my home. This in and of itself is not a huge endeavor, and is one I need to do more often. However, on this day I decided to take a rose to my friend, just because I could and because I hoped it would brighten her day. It did. She was grateful to have that spot of brightness in her room. I thought afterwards on m way home that perhaps this is something Jason might have done - and did do on more than one occasion for some of his friends. While I was visiting my friend reminded me that I had written her a poem when she moved into the center that she treasured. I had almost forgotten that fact. It was a powerful reminder to me that things we may think of as small and simple can have a profound effect we may not even realize on those we reach out to."
"A little while back I had a friend post on Facebook that someone she knew was looking for a wedding photographer for the weekend of Jason's birthday. The couple was on a tight budget and was having trouble finding a photographer who would work with them. As I read the post and thought about offering my services I was hesitant. Weddings make me nervous and while I love photography and feel that I have a talent for it, weddings are a basically a one shot deal. I was just going to "wait and see" if another person might offer their services when I thought of Jason. How he often would do photo shoots for others. How much he loved photography and how good he was at it. I'm blessed to have one of his prints hanging on the wall of my front room. So I quashed down my fears and insecurities and posted on Facebook that I would be willing to help out.
When the bride called me I could tell she was hesitant to tell me her budget. I told her that it didn't matter what her budget was I would work with whatever she needed. Yesterday arrived and usually I am a bundle of nerves when it comes to weddings. This time I wasn't I was calm and confident. I really felt that Jason was there helping me out. It was a beautiful wedding up Provo canyon. The leaves were changing and the weather was perfect. I think Jason would have loved that setting.
When it came time for me to leave, the bride told me that she had left my payment at the cabin and that she would give the money to her mother to give to me later on. I told her that would be fine. As I was saying goodbye to her mom I told her that I didn't wish to be paid for doing the photography at all. I explained about my friend, Jason, and how today was his birthday and I was doing this in honor of him. I told her not to tell the bride and groom but that when they gave her the money to put it in a card and tell them that the money was from someone who wished them all the happiness in the world.
As I drove back down Provo canyon the windows were down and the radio that was playing Good Time by Owl City and Carly Rae Jeppeson, I felt like Jason was sitting in the passenger side smiling and singing along."
One of Jason's friends sent in a message noting they had done something every single day in memory of Jason ranging from Utah all the way to Texas.
Multiple people wrote in saying they hadn't even known Jason, but contributed to his ice cream fund after reading about him in the blog world and being influenced by his words.
"Miss A loves going out to eat, and when we go to our home state, we always go by and pick up Miss A and take her out to dinner, where she would always have a catfish dinner."
"I have a sister in assisted living. I just mailed her a box of goodies from puzzles to clothes to shooes and goodies, movies, extra. She just loves the boxes of goodies I send to her, she doesn't get much company so she loves my boxes."
Another friend had already gone about giving away an ice cream or two after following Jason's example.
One of Jason's friends got up and delivered goodies to a deserving neighbor, even though she herself was ill.
Yet another friend's child loved Jason, and when he went to the ice cream shop, bought a $5 gift card and told the cashier to give it away to someone who needed it.