I don’t believe anyone truly recovers from the loss of a family member. And even though you might not be able to see your loved one in person again, going to their grave or memorial allows you to at least temporarily feel their presence. In a car accident in Richmond, California in 2003, Ray Olson lost his son, Raymond. A drunk driver was responsible for the 22-year-old’s death.
Chevron owned the property where Raymond was killed, and Ray was so certain that the company would never permit him to erect an official memorial that he didn’t even ask.
Instead, he secretly erected a memorial there that he frequented every evening. Up until the moment Ray received a startling message from the business: the area would be redeveloped. Several years ago, a mysterious roadside memorial was located on property owned by energy giant Chevron in Richmond, California. According to NBC News, no one knew who had set it up and kept it up.
Chevron executive Joe Lorenz said, “We’d see that it was being maintained, but we’d never see who was maintaining it. Ray Olson was revealed to be the memorial’s keeper. To remember his son, who had perished in a car accident there very day, he went to the location every night for more than 12 years.
Ray’s heart was then shattered in 2016. He discovered that the area would undergo redevelopment. Chevron decided that the property required an upgrade and posted a note at the memorial asking the unnamed caretaker to get in touch with them.
Ray Olson then made up his mind to move forward. His memorial and his memories would be destroyed by Chevron, he was certain of it. It was going to be taken down, I just knew,” Olson said. But he undoubtedly never imagined that the business would erect a new memorial in its place. Yet as it turned out, the business erected a plaque in Ray’s son’s honor and put a bench next to it for visiting mourners like Ray.
“We told Ray that this was his place. You don’t have to come at night anymore, Chevron’s Joe Lorenz told NBC News, adding that the company got in touch with the neighborhood council’s president Cesar Zepeda to see if they could work together to build a permanent memorial. It’s an amazing, amazing feeling, Zepeda said, to know that you’ve given a father life and hope and that you’ve improved someone’s life.
Kindness and compassion are all about this. If this story touched your heart as well, please spread the word to others.