You’ve undoubtedly seen a homemade roadside memorial at some point in your life. They are usually erected by loved ones in the spot where a family member or friend has died.
Some are simple, say a lone white cross, while others tend to accumulate more memories — stuffed animals, flowers, hats, and other mementos of a life lost. One such memorial sat just outside a plot of land in Richmond, California owned by Chevron.
The energy giant has business dealings in 180 countries. They are the kind of big company that, when they post revenue of $110 billion dollars (as they did in 2016), it can be considered a “down year.”
The memorial had been sitting outside of this particular property for over ten years. It was almost professional in its presentation.
There were flowers, angel statues, bushes and even solar-activated lights. All of it was kept up and maintained, but anonymously so.
Everyone was aware of the memorial but no one knew who it honored or who maintained it. And this arrangement seemed to work for everyone involved until late 2016 when it was time to make some changes to the property.
To their credit, Chevron, didn’t want to discount the emotional importance of the memorial. So they placed a note on it, asking the unknown caretaker to come forward.
“I just knew they were going to take it down” Ray Olson told MSN. Olson had erected the memorial in honor of his son who was killed in an accident with a drunk driver.
Olson had always headed over to the memorial in the dark of night to take care of it. In the back of his head, he always knew though that this day would come.
In his wildest dreams though, he never imagined that Chevron would take the memorial down only to erect a new one. But that’s exactly what they did.
Chevron enlisted the help of neighborhood council president Cesar Zepeda in creating something that would better stand the test of time. Together they installed a plaque with a photo of Olson’s son next to a park bench.
They put these in a nearby park for all to see and use as a quiet spot as needed. Joe Lorenz, of Chevron, told MSN “We said, ‘This is your spot, Ray. You no longer have to come at night.’”