For one local woman, March 3 is not just any other day, but a day of both loss and love.
Carrie Gutzwiller lost Jason, her husband of 9 years, to a snowmobile accident in Minnesota on March 3, 2012. Gutzwiller was in a dark place after losing her husband, but their daughter, Lily, helped her focus on bringing something positive out of a tragedy.
"That first year, Lily and I, we had actually drove down south to visit family and on our trip down here we were doing random acts of kindness,” said Gutzwiller, a freelance sign language interpreter. “We were paying for people’s meals at restaurants, we were just dropping off cards to people with a five-dollar bill inside, or just random things wherever we could and I had her help."
Lily was only 9 months old when she lost her father, so Gutzwiller has her help in random acts of kindness to show her a man who made kindness part of his daily routine.
"That was one of the main things I wanted her to see, what her dad was about and he was someone that helped people and he did random acts of kindness everyday and so it was important for her to learn that about her dad and see how much good can come from such a tragedy," she said.
Gutzwiller created the Facebook page "RAK Day for Jay" as a way to bring family and friends together to honor Jason and keep his memory alive in a positive way. What began as a few friends and family slowly grew to over 200 people in the first year.
People from across the United States share their own personal acts of kindness on the page. The acts range from leaving coupons for a certain item in the store to paying for someone’s haircut or lunch.
Debbie Lemke Sabrowsky, a friend of the family’s, has her own way of sharing kindness and spreading Jason’s name.
"I’ve brought home made goodies to our local law enforcement, bought coffee and donuts for a group of local seniors who gather everyday at our local bakery," Sabrowsky said.
One of the acts that Gutzwiller and her daughter do on March 3 is painting rocks and placing them around different areas for people to find. Their rocks have been found in the Fort Mill and Rock Hill areas and will soon travel as far as Canada. Anyone who finds one is welcome to keep it, share it, leave it somewhere else for another person to find or post a selfie with “#RAK Day for Jay.”
Gutzwiller was contacted by someone wanting to take some rocks with her on her trip up north and Gutzwiller was more than willing to send them along.
"It’s a way for him to keep adventuring,” she said. “It doesn’t stop when you die and I know that the love I had for him, the love that I will always have for him, will keep going because that just spreads to other people and that just doesn’t stop."
Gutzwiller and her daughter will be doing their acts of kindness on March 3 by reading a book about kindness, making bags to pass out to homeless people and handing out gift cards to strangers.