Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson came to aid of food truck after anti-Asian vandalism
[June 12, 2021: Ryan Miller]
Ben Pierce thought it must be a prank call.
The part-owner of the World Famous Yum Yum Food Truck had just received a call from a woman who said she was calling on behalf of Jordan Clarkson.
The Jordan Clarkson? The Sixth Man of the Year? The Utah Jazz guard that Pierce's son, Brevin, had been trying to get out to eat at the truck? That Jordan Clarkson?
"My son says, 'This is a prank call — don't play along with them,'" Pierce told KSL.com.
It was simply too hard to believe.
But, so, too, was what happened to the family-owned Filipino food truck last weekend. On Sunday morning, Pierce awoke to find the truck's facade spray-painted with anti-Asian slurs; it was a crushing blow.
"We are just so hurt right now," a Yum Yum post on Facebook read.
Now, days later, Pierce considers that tragic event a blessing.
Layton City Councilman Zach Bloxham was saddened and angered when he saw the image of the vandalized truck. He was far from alone. Bloxham was one of many to share the image on social media, hoping for it to gain attention to bring some people to justice and some aid to the business.
"I just did my best to reach out to the Yum Yum folks and just let them know they had someone that was caring about them," Bloxham said. "I just thought if there's a way I can share this on any of my platforms that can hopefully catch the people who are involved, firstly, and then maybe be able to see if we can remedy it in some way."
The posts began to get more and more traction, and soon the remedy came.
It arrived in the form of people stopping by ask how they could help; it arrived by donated money and time; it arrived in people making plans to come up and eat at the truck as soon it was ready to serve again.
It was all a little overwhelming for Pierce.
"I don't really cry that much, you know?" he said. "Emotionally, you just can't believe — we love Utah by itself, but when the community is just so loving. All the love that we're getting is unbelievable, we couldn't ask for anything else."
And that was all before a phone call from Clarkson's representative. Because it was no prank — it was from that Jordan Clarkson.
"I had a lot of people retweeting it and people who are not in my circles," Bloxham said of his Twitter post about the incident. "I know a few people had actually tagged him (Clarkson) from my tweet. And so that's just one of the benefits and blessings of social media."
In a few days, a family-owned business running a Filipino truck in Layton, Utah, was connected with a proud Filipino-American NBA player who happened to play for the local team.
Clarkson wanted to pay to wrap the truck with a new graphic, but a local company, Identity Graphx, already was taking care of that. Clarkson's team got a hold of Identity Graphx to offer to pay for it but the business declined.
So Pierce soon got another call saying that Clarkson wanted to detail the inside, instead; and Wednesday morning, Clarkson's reps called again asking to donate money.
"We're like, 'Oh, it's too much!'" Pierce said.
Too much from Clarkson — and everyone else. It was an outpouring from the community that he never expected.
There was one more thing, too: The Jazz gave Pierce and his family tickets to Game 2 of the Jazz-Clippers series on Thursday.
"My mom, my sister, my dad are big Jazz fans, like from the '80s," Pierce said, his voice raising in excitement. "Even when we moved to Washington, they're still supporting our Jazz. Especially Jordan being Filipino. For the Filipino community, he's like a hero."
After Clarkson got involved, Pierce has repeatedly been asked if Clarkson will be at the Philippine Independence Day celebration this Saturday. He laughs at the question — the Sixth Man of the Year is gonna be a little busy.
"We're like, 'Leave Jordan alone; he's in the playoffs. We're going to the championship!'" Pierce said, laughing. "Man, that guy's a hero. This tragedy is a blessing, I would say. Just people coming together. I've never seen anything like it."
Like these kind of feel good stories? Get the Brighter Side of News' newsletter.