Happy Birthday, Mike!
I participated in Free Love One Dollar on Tuesday in honor of Mike Morris.
When I started, I wondered if someone was going to yell at me.
They didn't. I did feel a little weird meandering around the parking lot by Southern Belle's and Anytime Fitness, slipping envelopes under windshield wipers, but the group of ladies who asked me about it in the library parking lot were very congenial. I had handwritten an explanation on the envelopes: "In memory of Mike Morris. Mike used this concept to brighten a stranger's day. I hope your day is fabulous."
Mike Morris would have turned 33 on Tuesday, but he died this summer when his Jeep Cherokee rolled back on him while he was working underneath it. His sister, Andi Morris, and her family wanted to do something more uplifting than a balloon launch to mark his birthday.
So they looked back to something he did with Andi Morris (a 2007 Yorkville High School graduate) when he was alive. He decorated envelopes, slipped a dollar bill inside, and left them on stranger's cars. They used Facebook and the media to spread the word and hoped hundreds would join their effort.
I repurposed some invitations I had made for another event to fit this effort. There were two designs: a subtle floral and a pretty purple pattern. The note inside said one of three things:
- "You are amazing. (I just thought you should know.)"
- "Your laugh brightens the room." or
- "I love your smile. (Thank you for sharing it.)"
After I passed out my notes, with a little bit of glee, I checked out the Free Love One Dollar Facebook page to see how other people fared.
I loved the responses from some of the recipients.
Ashley said: Found an envelope on my car in Bolingbrook this afternoon. I found the story about it online and it is an awesome way to remember your loved one. I didn't know Michael but he sounds like an amazing person. As a resident of Lemont I appreciate the work he did here. Thanks for making my day!
Nick said: I found an envelope on my car in Elmhurst and it made me smile. Mike sounded like an amazing person. It inspired me to photo copy the letter left on my windshield and stuff them with a dollar on the cars in the parking lot at Patriot Boxing in Elmhurst.
Kandis said: I just read an article "Family Celebrates Bolingbrook Man by Giving Away Dollar Bills, Compliments" on the Bolingbrook Patch online. Incredible. The article brought tears to my eyes and truly warmed my heart! I'm truly sorry for your loss of such an amazing person. He continues to reach others and through your sharing of his story - now he has touched my life and changed me for the better, too! xo
Elizabeth said: My husband came home from the store and said he had an envelope on his windshield...."You are loved! Free Love One Dollar; In loving memory of Michael Jason Morris September 25, 1979-June 5, 2012" I am literally welling up with tears as I type this!!! How wonderful of his loved ones to honor his name and his wish to spread love in this world!!! My husband and I believe in God (we are devout Catholics)....this is such a beautiful way to keep God's love spreading throughout our dark world-THANK YOU!!!! We will pay it forward, and we will pray for Michael's soul as well as all the people he left behind. God bless you all for your love for this person and his wish for this earth!!!!
Sierra said: Hello, Free Love! I was very surprised to walk out to my car after my shift at Provena, today, to find a very colorful envelope under my windshield wiper... I actually didn't even see it until I pulled away, and had to stop to take it from the windshield before it blew away... As I drove away, I thought how odd it was to have a hand colored envelope on my car... When I got home, my curiosity got the best of me, and the first thing I did was carefully open the bright envelope to see what it was. I read the article printed from the Bolingbrook Patch, and I was in tears... This thing that you're doing (while kind of odd) is profound. I had not heard this story or heard of this FB page until I received the dollar and the article, but I am sure to spread it to as many as I can. Life throws an awful lot of bad at us, most often, and to receive a gift of love, happiness, and even the dollar from a complete stranger is so uplifting. To share your story and continue the tradition is sure to touch more people than you know. Thank you for randomly choosing my car. I will continue to spread the free love!!!
If you were the recipient of one of my envelopes, I hope you enjoyed it and treated yourself to a cup of coffee. Or maybe a doughnut.
I hope you didn't confuse it for litter, and took the time to find out a little bit about Mike Morris. I wasn't lucky enough to know him while he lived, but I have nothing but respect and admiration for how his family chose to celebrate his 33rd birthday.
Nothing can replace him, but what a way to remember him.