I was very busy on the day Noah enthusiastically explained to me that a friend of a friend was coming to stay at our house. I vaguely heard something about a guy named Seth, going to a restaurant… surprising a waiter. Five minutes later, I had dismissed the memory of the conversation. It had been a few weeks since that happened when Noah excitedly mentioned picking up Seth at the airport in the morning. I quickly tidied up the house, changed my youngest sons sheets, and prepared his juvenile room for our house guest.
Noah returned a few hours later with a congenial, young man, grabbed a snack and was back out the door, new friend in tow. Later that evening they both returned and I had my first opportunity to actually meet Seth Collins. I was pleasantly surprised for so many reasons.
For about a year Seth has been traveling the United States fulfilling his brothers last wish. When Aaron Collins passed away from heart failure he left a will stating that he wanted his family to present a giant tip to a random waiter or waitress in his honor. Seth filmed and posted the good deed as part of his healing process and was shocked when the video went viral and brought massive attention to his action. The act of kindness brought him comfort and joy, and the accidental attention brought him the ability to continue his efforts through an onslaught of donations to the cause.
Fast forward hundreds of $500 tips, a road trip that will include every state in the US, a myriad of television interviews, etc. and Seth Collins wakes up in a tiny bright yellow bedroom, dinosaurs adorn his window and a jungle awaits outside.
“Good Morning Seth!” I chirp when he groggily appeared in the kitchen. “I know you’ve had a demanding schedule, a lot of restaurant food , and very little exercise in the last year or so… (I figured he’d be a good sport and I really needed to rope someone in) “I bet you’d like to do a simple 4 minute workout with me this morning, yes?”
Seth warily agreed to the workout and I promptly recruited my friend Gisele, who had showed up to photograph me as a moth. (Hey it’s my life and my story folks.) Noah volunteered to film our fitness endeavor and as our crew struggled our way through to the end, Gisele and Seth collapsed in to mounds of wheezing heaps. Quite pleased with myself for having introduced Seth so vividly to my day, I moved on to my next event and left him to make plans with Noah.
The day passed quickly, and when Noah and Seth returned from snorkeling, it was time for Seth to introduce us to his event. We packed the family and our guest into the van and took off for Luquin’s, the Mexican restaurant in our small town of Pahoa. We were all giddy at the prospect of being a part of Seth’s mission and when a lively woman named Pepper introduced herself as our waitress, we couldn’t have been more pleased. Pepper was the most helpful, friendly, informative waitress I’ve ever encountered, really. It seemed serendipitous that this person would be receiving a random act of kindness. She had no idea what was to come at the end of the meal, and yet she was so personable, caring and attentive to our entire family, even bringing the children cupcakes that were originally meant for her husband.
When, at last the big moment came, Seth explained his purpose and handed a joyfully weeping Pepper $500 cash for her service.
I could see that my kids were delighted and filled with awe from having witnessed such a remarkable scenario.
On the drive home I sat in back with my children and thought of the many wondrous things our family is privileged to be a part of. As the men chatted in the front of the vehicle I squeezed my kids tight and decided I would let Seth skip the workout the next morning.
To follow Seth’s journey visit: AaronCollins.org