A website run by Darren Barefoot, a facilitator of semi-random kindnesses: links between you and a couple of surprised, grinning strangers.
You may have heard that a lot of people have gotten married in San Francisco over the past week. The fine folks at NPR have been going demurely bonkers over this story, giving it extensive airtime pretty much every day.
My favorite was an interview with a young man named John from L.A. When he and his partner Duncan (who are registered as domestic partners, and have already had a civil union ceremony) heard about the opportunity for a legal marriage, John says they "jumped right in the car." They drove through the night and arrived at the courthouse at dawn.
They were the eighth couple in line, the other fourteen people having spent the night there, on the stone steps of the courthouse
, in the rain. As they waited for the sun to come up and the doors to open, other couples joined them, eventually forming a line of hundreds.
John said he'd never seen so many cold, wet, shivering, ecstatic people.
After John and Duncan were married (John said the word "husband" with happy disbelief), they were asked if they would volunteer to be deputized, so that they could perform marriages. They both instantly agreed. At the time of the interview, John had performed 58 marriages, his husband 59. He said that every afternoon at five o'clock, they go out to the car, look at each other, and decide to put off their L.A. jobs for one more day, to stay and help a few more people marry each other.
---The goal of Flowers for Al and Don is to deliver flowers to random couples, waiting at the courthouse for their turn at the "I do"s.
Originally, someone else used his blog (http://tinyurl.com/3d3av) to encourage readers to order bouquets from a local (S.F.) florist
. Since the cost of the smallest bouquet available for delivery ($47 minimum) prohibited many readers from ordering, "Al and Don" was set up as a way for people to donate toward the cause via PayPal
, anonymously or not, in the amount of their choice. Every penny, minus PayPal fees, goes toward the flowers, which, when possible, are not purchased from a florist but rather from a local flower market. Local volunteers arrange and deliver them, on their own time.
The donations, which have only been coming in since the 19th - not even three whole days - already total more than $4,000. Individual donations have ranged from $2 to $100. (In the three hours since I wrote this, the total has jumped to almost $6,000.) (Update: It's Thursday, and the site just passed the $10,000 mark.)
Silly name notwithstanding, this endeavor appears legit - Darren (who is Canadian, and straight) posts his full address and phone number, so if you have any qualms, you're free to talk it out with him first. I've read accounts of the deliveries, and have seen a few photos, and I'm just so touched by this, I thought it could use a little more word of mouth. These marriages are hasty, no-frills affairs. Most of the people involved aren't even wearing anything special. They know their wedding certificates may not be worth anything in a week. They know a lot of people are working against what they're trying to do, which is mostly just choosing each other. I'd like so much to be there, to walk around and look at everybody crying, and to say Congratulations to somebody. Since I can't, I'll send a daisy.
The main site:
Photos of flower deliveries:
Very happy people: