The Cupcake Dealer

I feel like ever since I graduated high school I’ve always wanted to do more charitable things for other people. My husband Kurt and I have always talked about our “could have, should have, and would have’s” throughout the years, but never really acted on any of them. Since our best friend Matt passed away it has put into perspective how fragile our time here really is. Matt was about to go on an adventure to meet and help others, and his quote for his journey was:

Cupcake

“Charity and helping others is truly the path to happiness. Give back, be charitable, impact others’ lives and it will impact yours. Always be mindful of where you can make a difference.”

I think about this quote often since his passing. He had planned to leave for his journey on April 1st, 2017, but he passed away before that date. As that day was approaching, I knew we needed to do something to honor him. I thought about many things to do, but nothing really stuck out as, “Matt would think this was cool,” and that was important to me. I know he is out there and I wanted him to be pumped about the idea. So I really got to thinking about Matt. Matt loved treats. We would joke about him coming to our house, and we would have to hide our treats from him because he would eat them all. That’s something we had in common. I love treats as well, but I especially love baking, specifically cakes and cupcakes. Whenever we would get together as friends for some party I would bring cupcakes and Matt would eat a lot of them. I got to thinking about how I could better someone’s life by bringing them cupcakes. I thought about passing them out to our neighbors and friends, but felt that it really wasn’t “making a difference.”  I thought, “this is lame, I should think of something else,” but I really felt like I needed to make cupcakes. Then it hit me. I had the idea to bake a ton of cupcakes and pass them out to people who were homeless in downtown Salt Lake City.

I went out and bought 4 boxes of cake mix, eggs, powdered sugar, butter, etc. I made approximately 100 cupcakes with the help of our 2 year old son, Kove. He likes to dump in the ingredients and put the paper liners in the pans. I then called my little brother Ryley and asked if he would like to join us in this adventure. Ryley and Matt had a bond that was so strong, even I didn’t understand it. Of course Ryley said he would love to. He loved Matt just as we all did. We went and picked him up and made our way out to Salt Lake City. We talked a lot about Matt and told stories that had us laughing- most Matt stories are funny ones. As we were getting off the exit, I started to get nervous. I had never been in the area of Salt Lake City where many people who are homeless gather during the day. I started asking Kurt and Ryley if they thought this was going to go well. I honestly had no idea what to expect. They both assured me it was going to be fine and added, “come on, everybody loves cupcakes.”

We turned down one of the streets and my heart literally sank. I don’t think I have seen so many homeless people on the street in one place before. I thought to myself, “100 cupcakes isn’t even going to make a dent in the amount of people here.” But I felt as if it was better than nothing. I noticed there were some other people there passing out sandwiches from a cooler. It made me feel so much better knowing we weren’t crazy to be going out and doing this. Ryley and I jumped out and opened the trunk. We each grabbed a carton of cupcakes and decided we’d go separate ways to different groups. I was so nervous for some reason. I mainly felt like I was going to be judged thinking I was " better than them" and they’d tell me to get out or something crazy. But the first group I walked up to had the biggest smiles on their faces. I asked them if they wanted a cupcake and of course they said yes. I told them I was here passing out cupcakes in remembrance of our best friend. They were so kind. They asked me how he had passed and said their apologies. I could see in their faces and words that they were good people that were just caught up in a bad situation.

cupcake

As we finished off a box we would head back to the car and grab another. Ryley and I both noticed some people were asking for seconds or claiming it was for their girlfriend or boyfriend. Neither of us were going to say no, so we just gave them another one. They grinned ear to ear as if they just snuck one by us, but we knew they were double dipping, and we didn’t care because Matt would have done the same thing!

When we had finished passing them all out we got back into the car. I think the first thing out of both of our mouths were how sad of a situation these people are in, but how we were excited that they were so appreciative. We really felt like we had made someone in need smile that day, which made us smile in return. We just had a sense of accomplishment; like we set out to do this thing, and we actually did it! We didn’t just talk about it. I want to try to do more random acts of kindness in our lives, even if it’s once a week or once a month. I want to set an example to our kids to help others, so they can see that helping others also helps us - maybe it doesn't help us how they would think, like with an object like a toy, but mentally and emotionally it will make us happier. We need to be the good in the world.

We talked about this experience as family and friends after we had done it. We all came to the conclusion that next year we're going to make it even bigger and better with more cupcakes and more help to pass them out. Hopefully we keep this tradition going for years to come to honor our best friend Matt. We love you, Matt, and miss you immensely.

-Asha Michelson

Kelly Otteson