Paying it forward helps car crash victims cope

By WEEK Producer

April 14, 2014 Updated Apr 15, 2014 at 11:12 AM CDT

BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, Ill. -- A movement calling for random acts of kindness is sweeping through the twin-cities and helping three victims cope with the loss of a friend.

On March 29, an alleged drunk driver hit a car carrying Michael Collins and three of his friends. Michael died four days later.

Now, through random acts of kindness, his legacy is living on.

A Facebook page asking people to "Pay it Forward" in Michael's honor has over 17,000 likes and people all over the world are participating.

"There's one from Africa, Guam, Hawaii. It's amazing how Michael's spirit is living on," said Ali Seys, a passenger in fatal car crash.

These random acts of kindness are helping the three women in the car that night with Michael, deal with the tragedy.

"It makes it a little bit easier knowing that he's still here, even if it's not physically," said Tawni Ricketts, a passenger in fatal car crash.

"Everyone's going out of their way to help each other, everyone's more friendly, smiley," said Seys.

The designated driver, Samantha Nelson, says she didn't know the two girls who got in her car that night, but now, they have an everlasting bond.

"We're inseparable now," Nelson said.

"We feel like Michael left us with each other for a reason," said Ricketts.

Michael's friends say it's a miracle, turning a tragic event into something positive.

"This tragedy has turned into a blessing for a lot of people," said Nelson.

Over the weekend a Twin Cities shuttle company was asked to participate in the Pay It Forward movement.

They delivered, giving 600 free rides to anyone going to and from Bloomington's downtown bars.

All they asked was for passengers to pay it forward to another person.

"That's what people would say too, is that they were going to pay it forward too," said Lee Eutsey, owner of Magic Bus Shuttle. "That's the whole point, we really want to see this kindness passed on and not just end with us and the next person."

Donors raised nearly $1,900 to make the rides happen.

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