One young man’s last wish has become a mission for his brother to fulfill across the US.
Sunday marks the one year anniversary of the unexpected death of Aaron Collins, a 30-year-old Kentucky man whose last wish became international news last year when NPR reported that he had left the request in his will that his family ”leave an awesome tip (and I don’t mean 25%. I mean $500 on a f***ing pizza) for a waiter or waitress.”
Seth Collins, Aaron’s brother, took the request to heart, and with the help of his family began a Facebook page and the website Aaron’s Last Wish, which according to a follow-up report from NPR, has collected more than $60,000. After video’s of the “surprise and delight” on the faces of those who received the tips went viral, donations started pouring in from people who wanted to help Seth continue to fulfill his brother’s wish.
According to NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday, Seth said:
“The plan was to do it once and I was going to be happy to do [it] once for Aaron,” he says. But then people “wanted to see it happen again and again.”
At first, Seth and his family focused on restaurants around Lexington, Ky. But, “at some point I realized I needed to get out of this area,” he says, “and spread this to others … Especially because the donations came in from all over the world … It only seemed fair to try to give back to as many places as I could.”
Although the idea originated with Aaron, and at first Seth was happpy just to do it for his brother, “Aaron’s Last Wish” has turned into something more for the Collins family, and especially for Seth. He said that he’s “glad to be able to do something else that’s rewarding: Let others know that sometimes, good things do happen.” He told NPR:
Almost every waiter or waitress, thinks at first that it’s a joke when he gives them the money. “The instinct seems to be ‘no one would just randomly give me $500…nice things don’t happen,’ ” he says.
“People have been programmed to think that good things can’t happen…and it makes me happy to be at, at least for a few of them, show that [they] can.”
The most recent tip which was given last Wednesday in Indianapolis, Indiana, marks the 54th $500 tip Seth has given out in memory of his brother. He has been to 17 states, and beginning Monday he is “setting off on a mission to visit the other 33 states.” His goal is to have visited all 50 states and left tips for unsuspecting servers before Christmas.
Photo: Aaron’s Last Wish/Facebook