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Feel Good Friday – Aaron’s Last Wish

Aaron passed away July 7, 2012. His final wish in his will, if he left enough money, was that his family have pizza and give the waiter or waitress a $500 tip. Aaron never had much money , and he didn’t have enough to make this happen, so his brother started a website and took donations. On July 10 they were able to make his wish come true for the first time.


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  • Cerys July 20, 2012, 5:35 am

    My eyes may be just a little bit moist right now. At least that’s how I explain the droplets on my keyboard. What a wonderful bequest to leave!

  • lkb July 20, 2012, 6:31 am

    RIP Aaron Collins. You and your brother were blessed to have each other.
    Three great people: Aaron, his brother and the waitress, who immediately said she’d share it with everyone.

  • CaffeineKatie July 20, 2012, 6:51 am


  • The Elf July 20, 2012, 6:52 am

    What a sweet and offbeat gesture! I think it’s great that the waitress, unprompted, said she was going to share it with the rest of the staff.

  • June July 20, 2012, 7:01 am

    Goosebumps! And, according to their website, people have donated more than $44,000. Wow!

    Thanks for sharing, admin!

  • Andi July 20, 2012, 7:22 am

    Beauty from the inside. What a wonderful legacy.

  • Bint July 20, 2012, 8:20 am

    The great people in this are the strangers who donated so that this was possible. Otherwise I’m struggling to see what’s touching in Aaron’s family begging online for money to give a $500 pizza tip when the bequest couldn’t cover it. Wishing away and spending other people’s money just isn’t something I find moving.

  • LilyG July 20, 2012, 12:13 pm

    What a great guy!

  • Starry Diadem July 21, 2012, 7:12 am

    I very much agree with Bint. I can’t see what’s at all heartwarming about giving a tip of that magnitude to the waitress, when it’s other people’s money and not your own. When it comes to good causes to donate to, producing money for a tip is pretty low down on my list.

  • lilmonkey July 21, 2012, 9:20 am

    Blint. What the article didn’t say is why he wanted to do this. I’m sure he had a reason and the family understood and wanted to help. Maybe some people he didn’t know were kind and helped him when he needed it the most and he wanted “pay it forward” but was unable to. Everyone that donated to this cause knew exactly what it was about and how it was going to be spent and maybe it gives them some joy in the fact they are helping to fulfill someones last request and making someones day better. The fact that the family is not keeping the money, even after they had reached their goal, is even better.
    If you don’t like something like this, it’s simple, don’t donate.

  • Lynne July 21, 2012, 3:20 pm

    Count me in the minority with Bint. It’s a nice wish to be able to dream of having enough money to give away that much to someone, else but he didn’t. Although it benefits the waitress rather than the deceased, this is not so far off from soliciting others to pay for places you wish you could travel to, or parties you’d like to give.

  • collegegirl July 21, 2012, 3:44 pm

    I can’t say I agree with you, Bint – it’d be one thing if the family was taking donations to buy themselves something “because their brother wanted it”, but instead they managed to both fulfil their brother’s last wish to do a random act of kindness he’d never been able to, they let a lot of people get in on the magic of doing something so amazing for a stranger that she’ll be telling her grandkids about it. I barely make above minimum wage but I like to tip as big as I can, and I know I certainly couldn’t afford anything like that – but I could (and will) donate five bucks for the pleasure of knowing that it’s going to contribute to a gift that will make someone’s year.
    I don’t see that as begging and spending away someone else’s money, I see that as spreading the joy around.

  • clairedelune July 21, 2012, 3:52 pm

    Bint, I’m not big on online panhandling either, but sometimes it’s hard to begrudge people. And it’s not exactly “spending other people’s money”–once other people willingly give you money, it becomes yours. They did ask for it, but they didn’t *steal* it.

  • Lynne July 22, 2012, 11:09 am

    clairedelune — I don’t think Bint was implying anywhere that they stole the money — but it was still others’ money — not their own — that was spent, because they solicited and collected it specifically for this purpose.

    It also made me a little uncomfortable that the family chose to stamp (or write?) the website on every single bill, because it creates a dynamic of advertising, rather than a “no-strings-attached” tip/gift. I can understand choosing to share the story with the server, or not, but I don’t understand continuing to promote the project.

  • Melalucci July 23, 2012, 1:32 am

    Just an FYI, Aaron killed himself. 🙁

  • L July 23, 2012, 8:08 am

    I think it’s sweet. They could potentially be helping someone who’s really struggling; maybe that $500 will make the server’s rent, or help them buy school clothes for their children, or get medicine they can’t afford. It’s pretty awesome.

  • kjr July 23, 2012, 8:43 am

    I am saddened that some people don’t find this heartwarming. The people who donate money do it willingly, and know exactly how the money will be used. They know that by donating, they are helping carry out a last wish of someone’s loved one, and, at the same time, doing something kind for a complete stranger. The ONLY fault I can see is that (unless I missed this) they don’t mention that the money was donated for the cause to the waitress when giving it to her, thus getting all of the “credit”. In the end, I still think it is such a great way to cope with someone’s death. Aaron may or may not have realized, but this request has put his family together more often (seeing that they get together each week to donate the tip and have dinner together), which could be something else he really wanted.

  • Dna2323 July 23, 2012, 6:07 pm

    Double FYI, he did not kill himself, Melalucci. He was sick long before he died. Please check your facts before commenting on message boards giving the hateful people even more reason to lessen the spirit of this story.
    It was a sweet gesture. Granted, there are plenty of other things that the money could be used for and this was just the mans last wish. The $44K raised should at least go into a scholarship of some kind…not just random pizza places.

  • sv July 24, 2012, 4:40 am

    To those who cannot see this as a wonderful gesture…”It’s the thought that counts.” Whatever the circumstances, Aaron did not have $500 left in his estate to personally donate, but his family wanted to honor his final wishes. It is entirely possible that he himself did not even realize that he was not going to be able to accomplish it with his own funds. The man simply wanted to do a random act of kindness for a stranger. Maybe he was hoping the gesture would snowball, or maybe he just wanted to impact someone’s life. Regardless, it is not begging for someone else’s money and if people are inspired by his thoughtfulness to donate and spread a little joy, how can that be a bad thing? This is beautiful. Hats off to the family, the waitress, and most of all to Aaron for deciding to leave the world a little better than he found it.

  • The Elf July 24, 2012, 10:52 am

    Well, I don’t see this quite as online begging because the people doing the begging are not the recipients, and the recipients don’t even know it’s coming their way. I see this as a sort of “random act of kindness” thing funded by people who want to participate.

    Now, if you start getting pressure to contribute or if these guys start taking a cut, that’s a different story altogether.

  • Melalucci July 24, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Where’d you get your info, Dna? He may have been mentally ill, but he was not physically sick. CNN states here: And here are direct posts from his brother on a message board: http://neogaf.net/forum/showthread.php?t=481038

    It’s still a sweet story, but when I read it, I wanted to know how he died. I thought others might, too. No need for hostility.

  • Melalucci July 24, 2012, 11:39 pm

    Please excuse me, here’s the CNN link. http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/14/us/kentucky-last-wish/index.html

  • Tara July 25, 2012, 1:55 am

    Hear, hear, lilmonkey!

    Aaron wanted to make a difference in someone else’s life. People donating $44,000 is HUGE. That money will go to 88 waiters/waitresses to help make their lives better! I was a waitress throughout college and grad school, and that kind of money would have helped a LOT. Rent, books, tuition, food, gas…the same bills everyone has but can be tough to pay when you’re 22 years old and living paycheck to paycheck while working on your degree. I think Aaron’s heart was in the right place and God bless the people who saw that and helped to make his dream come true.

  • jena rogers July 25, 2012, 9:41 am

    When I lost a close friend to a short illness quite suddenly, I remember how focused I became for awhile on finding some way to honor her life and memory. I wanted the entire world to know that an angel had been among us for a short time. I think that is all Aaron’s family wants (and deserves). To be able to find solace and redemption after such a tragic loss, to convey how important someone was to us, that they were cherished and that their life meant something — that is the real beauty of this endeavor. It can be such a gift when we are able to let the spirit of a loved one shine through our grief and extend beyond, as a helping hand toward others.

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