Your involvement helps us celebrate!
Jason was the original inspiration behind Howdy, Neighbors. Jason is a young man with almost unlimited enthusiasm. He loves to be in the middle of any action, and he gets very excited when he sees people that react to him with positive energy. Here are a few examples of his spirit coming through in various activities he enjoys:
Ever since he was three years old, Jason’s very favorite pastime has always been to sit at a street corner and wave to cars. He’s done this wherever he has lived: sitting on the lawn of a quiet residential neighborhood while his parents tended to yard work. Or at a bench on a bustling Philadelphia suburban intersection, next to a trolley stop. Here in Cincinnati, his favorite spot is underneath the shade of an elm tree.
We jokingly call his style “aggressive greeting”, because he is often quite persistent…
…until he gets the person he is targeting to realize they are getting a shout-out.
Jason is just doing his favorite two favorite things, sharing his love and receiving love. Over time, we began to understand how special this is, and how he has magically turned such a simple gesture as a wave into a gift. He’s not first checking to see who the driver is, or finding out where they are from, or what their political or social views are. He’s waving to everyone. And they’re all waving or honking back. In a way, this seems to us like a moment of true human equality. It’s just a moment, but it often seems to have a lasting effect.
At every location, Jason has made friends, some of them lifelong. When he is out in the community, at restaurants, even on airplanes, he is increasingly recognized: “are you the young man who waves at me every day?” It’s turned Jason into the unofficial Ambassador of his town.
At his favorite corners, his infectious smile has led to much love and returned kindness. Jason has received countless gifts: donuts, ice cream, toys, stuffed animals, holiday presents. Some of the most memorable:
- A hand-knitted blanket
- Joy rides in a convertible and a Porsche
- A handcrafted wooden coin bank and Phillies plaque
- A guardian bell from a motorcycle rider’s Harley
- Free haircuts for life
- A visit from a friendly Shetland pony
- An impromptu performance from a professional juggler
Plus, thousands upon thousands of waves, honks, and greetings. The outpouring of attention is heartwarming and delightful.
The most endearing of these turned into an organized exotic car rally, staged in front of Jason’s home. Perhaps most remarkable, it was organized by a young man named Jack who just happened to receive a few of Jason’s waves as he drove by each evening. Those greetings ignited the effort it took for Jack and his friends to create an awesome event. It ended with us being able to raise over $7,000 for the Cerebral Palsy Program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. It also spawned a viral video that spurred over a 14,000 Facebook likes, a thousand comments, and was viewed by 1.5 million people around the world.
As we witnessed example after example of such kindness, sparked by such a simple gesture, we began to realize that Jason had a special gift–the ability to bring out the best in others, by showing the best side of himself. We’ve learned a lot from him, and we are hoping that through Howdy, Neighbors, Jason can spread that spirit to many others. Because, of course, we all have that spirit in us. As we are all so busy, sometimes we forget this spirit, or neglect it, or we simply get distracted by other things.
We sincerely hope that you can share your spirit with us as well, and that you can join our movement to bring more humanity back into the world.