Go inside the Mr. Express gas station on Ebenezer Road in Rock Hill, turn left and find the plastic jar sitting on a window-sill.
The message, in big red letters, is taped on the side: Help donate to Frankie Adams!!!! The goal: Raise as much money as possible so the family of the dead Northwestern High School student can place a headstone on his grave.
Police say Adams, 16, died at about 11 p.m. May 15 on Heckle Boulevard after he lost control of the Acura he was driving and crashed into a utility pole and two trees. He was on his way home from his job at Zaxbys on S.C. 901, where he spent several hours a week in the kitchen cooking chicken and fries.
Speed, authorities say, was a contributing factor in the crash, but a more-detailed investigation into the accident is ongoing.
Adams, called by his middle name Lane by his family, was buried at Lakeview Memory Gardens in York on Tuesday after about 500 people attended his funeral at Freedom Temple Ministries in downtown Rock Hill, family members said.
In a statement, his family expressed their deepest gratitude and appreciation for all of the love, kindness and thoughtful gestures that have been bestowed upon us during this time of bereavement.
We are amazed by the outpouring of love and support received on behalf of our precious Frankie Lane. The loving sympathy you all have shown during this tremendously difficult time is so greatly appreciated. May God bless you.
Adams friends are now banding together to help bless the family as much as possible. Theyve distributed plastic donation jars to several restaurants and stores in Rock Hill, including the Mr. Express gas station on Ebenezer; Ouzos Pizza on Celanese Road; Jacksons Cafe on Heckle Boulevard; and Zaxbys on Heckle Boulevard, where Adams worked.
All the money is going to Frankies mom for a headstone, said Emily Little, a 17-year-old Northwestern student who became friends with Adams when they took math classes together at the Phoenix Academy. She really needs all the help she can get.
Life without her close friend has been a lot better since after the funeral, Little said.
The weekend before Adams death, the two spent time at Littles house, hanging out with mutual friend, John Fowler.
It still dont feel right not getting Snapchats from him or seeing him, she said. But, things have been better.
Little said shes doing her best to make everything possible positive.
So are the people who worked with Adams.
We were open the very next day (after the accident) ... everybody was a little down, said Trent Hogue, manager at the Heckle Boulevard Zaxbys. It wasnt quite the same feeling that it would normally be. Most of the time, everybody has to get hyped up for a Friday night, because we know its going to be busy and its going to be crazy.
But, last Friday night, it was definitely ... a different air about everything.
On Wednesday, Zaxbys on Heckle will host a fundraiser in Adams honor. A percentage of that days sales will go to his family. Anyone who wants to help only has to go to the restaurant from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. and place an order.
By then, Hogue said, employees hope to have a donation box set up for anyone who wants to contribute extra money.
The donations are anything that we can do to help the family ... anything to kind of helping the healing process.
Healing for Adams friends is coming slowly.
John Fowler, 17, met Frankie when he was a sophomore at Northwestern.
He was so easy to laugh, make jokes with, Fowler said, adding that most people got along with Frankie because he was accepting and non-judgmental.
He was a really smart kid, Fowler said. He would say a lot of clever things. He was just pure good. That kid would never do anything wrong to any person.
A week after losing his friend, its hard for me to talk, Fowler said. I dont know what to do now that hes gone. Its all about accepting and learning to accept that hes gone and not forgotten.
Carmen Rea, 16, likely will never forget Adams. They first met when she was a freshman at Northwestern and he was a sophomore. A friend introduced them and they just kind of hit it off, she said. In September 2012, she became Adams first girlfriend. Though things didnt work out and they separated the following February, they remained close friends.
So close that when Rea heard that Adams had died in a car crash, she refused to believe it. Last Friday morning, halfway through her first-block class, a friend asked her about the news of Adams death on Twitter. Then, she knew it must be true.
Rea ran out of her classroom in tears, sobbing in the hallway until an administrator and friend found her. The administrator led her to a conference room, where many of Adams friends had gathered with guidance counselors and school officials to talk about the loss.
He was always smiling, always joking, she said. He was always teasing us in a good way. I know he really wouldnt want us to be upset.
Rea has worked with Little to place jars at restaurants and gas stations around the city. On Friday, they were working on passing out the donation jars to more stores and venues.
He was a very, very great person, she said. Hes very loved. Hes probably making fun of us for being so upset.
Jonathan McFadden • 803-329-4082