Acts of Kindness
Dad maintains memorial for his deceased son but then property management sends him a letter
When his son passed away after an incident with a drunk driver, he created a memorial to honor him. He preserved the memorial until he saw a note from the property owners.
Britanie Leclair
11.24.21

The residents of Richmond, living in the city’s Hilltop district, had been perplexed by a mystery.

Every day, neighborhood residents would walk past an elaborate memorial set up on abandoned Chevron property.

It was not clear who the memorial was commemorating or who was maintaining the ostentatious display complete with solar panels, flowers, and angels.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Someone was clearly tending to the memorial site, but nobody had ever seen them.

Cesar Zepeda, president of the Hilltop District Neighborhood Council, tells NBC:

“All we knew was that it belonged to someone who was very much loved.”

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Still, the memorial was situated on Chevron property and, eventually, the company decided that the property needed an upgrade.

They didn’t want to destroy the memorial, but they had no idea who to contact about the issue.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

They posted a note asking the individual to contact them.

It read, “For those individuals who are maintaining this memorial, Chevron asks that you contact the refinery at [phone number]. Thank you for your help!”

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

To Chevron’s surprise, the mysterious caretaker eventually came forward.

The man who had created and tended to the memorial was a grieving father named Ray Olsen.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Olsen had created the memorial as a way to honor his late son.

The young man had died as the result of a car accident with a drunk driver.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Ray had originally been a bit scared to reveal his identity, fearing the oil giant would destroy his setup. He even went so far as to tend to the memorial only at night, hoping no one would be able to see his face. In the end, though, Ray decided to come clean— a decision which came with surprising results!

After hearing Ray’s story, Chevron and the neighborhood council teamed up to surprise the loyal father.

When it came time for the property to be maintained, Chevron and the neighborhood presented him with something extremely special, a story that was covered in an NBC News Inspiring America segment.

They didn’t want to force the father to hide out and grieve his deceased son in the middle of the night.

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Instead, the two organizations set up a beautiful, engraved memorial situated directly next to a cozy-looking new bench.

Joe Lorenz of Chevron points out the bench to NBC News, saying, “That’s Ray’s bench. We said, ‘This is your spot, Ray. You no longer have to come at night.’

After being convinced the oil company would destroy the memorial without a second thought, the plaque came as quite a surprise to Ray who says, “I never even thought to dream of something like this.”

YouTube Screenshot - NBC News
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - NBC News

Since being a part of the memorial surprise, Cesar Zepado also told NBC News:

“Knowing that you’ve given life and hope to a father and knowing that you have made somebody’s life better— it’s an amazing, amazing feeling to have.”

People are touched by the company’s kind gesture.

Some comments on the YouTube video read:

“Bless you, Chevron.”

“Faith in humanity restored.”

“A true noble act.”

Watch the entire heartwarming story below!

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By Britanie Leclair
hi@sbly.com
Britanie Leclair is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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