Blyth's Hesselwood, Bokhout honoured with acts of kindness - Nov. 30, 2017
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
Last week social media was awash in stories of random acts of kindness being accomplished in the names of Blake Hesselwood and John Bokhout.
Luann Taylor, Hesselwood’s mother, said she began the initiative five years ago. The hope was that the effort put forth would turn a sad day into a happy one for numerous people throughout Huron County and beyond.
Hesselwood and Bokhout, life-long friends, perished in a house fire in Alberta on Nov. 15, 2011. They were 22 at the time and had moved to Alberta to work for Rockwell Drilling Oil Services six months earlier.
“It started five years ago on the anniversary of the boys’ passing. We wanted to do something to honour their memory,” Taylor said. “Two days before that anniversary, it came to me and I thought they would have gotten a kick out of it.”
Taylor said that she thought randomly putting a smile on someone’s face would be the perfect way to honour two young men who had done that for so many people for their whole lives.
Like so many initiatives these days, this one began on Facebook. Taylor said she posted on Facebook, encouraging her friends and family members to do something kind for someone they didn’t know on Nov. 15 and it has only grown from there.
It began at Luann’s flower shop, which is now located in Goderich. Over the years she has distributed flowers to people on the street or even given people two flowers each – one for the person and a second to be given to someone else.
She also said that she and her husband Ken Hesselwood would often pay for random tabs at local coffee shops as well. They would drop some money at a shop and encourage those who benefitted to “pay it forward”.
This year, reports came from all corners of the county that people received a rose or a free coffee, all in the name of Hesselwood and Bokhout.
One random act of kindness that Taylor said has stayed with her over the years was courtesy of a family member who lives in British Columbia. The person was eating at a restaurant and left a larger-than-normal tip to the waiter.
The gesture would make a difference in the server’s life, as she was attempting to help her son buy outdoor clothing for a new job and the tip allowed her to pay the remaining cost and get the clothes out of layaway.
Being able to do things like that in the name of Blake or John, Taylor said, is incredible.