Aaron Collins should have been thinking about the life ahead of him when he sat down at his computer to write down his final wishes. He was only in his 20s. But something, his family and friends say, made him outline three things he wanted when he died: to repay his parents any debt he may have owed, to give a homeless person some money and to leave "an awesome tip" for a waiter or waitress.
"I'm not talking about 25%. I mean $500 for a ... pizza," Collins wrote in his will, according to his brother.
Collins died on July 7, just three weeks after his 30th birthday, in a Lexington, Kentucky, hospital, leaving behind family and friends who took up his final request -- to leave a big tip.
Family and friends fulfilled Aaron's request, tipping one waitress in Lexington the $500, a moment that Aaron's brother, Seth Collins, videotaped and posted online Wednesday to YouTube. It is linked to the family's memorial page, AaronCollins.org.
Maybe it was the simple gesture. Maybe it was the generosity. But something caught the imagination of the public, who began watching the video. By Saturday, according to a YouTube count, there were more than 1.3 million views and nearly $30,000 in donations for the family to continue what has become known as "Aaron's Last Wish," Seth Collins told CNN...
...Since the video posted on YouTube, Seth Collins said the family has heard from people in the Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal and even Russia. So many people responded that he is moving the website to a different server to handle the increased traffic.
From the Aaron's Wish website:
...Aaron never had much and didn’t leave much. We want to make his wish come true. So we are asking for donations to make this happen for him. Any money donated will go directly to this cause. His hope was clearly that such a random gift of kindness would leave an impact for life. Once we have $500 his family will go to dinner somewhere and leave it as a gift for the waiter or waitress. If we continue to receive money, we will continue giving these gifts randomly, so that in his death he can touch the lives of many more people than he had even dreamed of doing in life. If you can’t donate then please give a generous tip on your own. Tell the waiter or waitress why, or don’t. He would still be happy that you had done it. Give them this website address if you’d like, or write it on the check, so they know they received the gift because of my brother.