Two bar buddies and a bartender kept a dead man alive on social media for almost two years. Jimmy Stevens, retired oil rig operator got bad news 4 years ago: he had cancer, the bad kind and would live no more than 18 months. Jimmy had traveled the world on oil rigs and never had much time for a family. However, his social media life was full with thousands of connections on LinkedIn and 400 friends on Facebook.
"Jimmy was always commenting on patrons in the bar with their faces in the phones. Hardly conversing at all,” said bar buddy Mike Oliver. “One day he said ‘I bet when I’m gone you can keep me alive for months. No one talks to each other anymore". That got us thinking,” said other buddy Janis Stuckey. Jimmy made the most of his last 18 months, taking several trips with Janis and Mike. They amassed thousands of pictures that would later be used.
Buddy Mike said, “Jimmy was almost obsessed about it. We planned to keep his phone and email live until we got busted. The rule was we could not impersonate him with any words. Only emoji's could be used. We would drink well into the night thinking up ways to keep the ruse going.” James L Stevens died on April 17th, 2018. Mike, Janis and Jimmy’s 96-year-old Aunt were the only ones at the service.
After his death, Jimmy was married. A picture with Sabrina the bartender would suffice for that. He took trips to Lake of the Ozarks, spring training and Las Vegas. He was promoted 3 times, finally to vice president of a made-up oil company. The caper finally fell apart when, “Sabrina and Jimmy’s ‘marriage photo’ made it back to Sabrina’s boyfriend and he was not happy one bit,” said Janis.
In 23 months, Jimmy received 7,941 auto congrats on LinkedIn, 14,752 likes on Facebook, 694 texts and 13 voice messages of a personal nature. “Jimmy is smiling with a big ‘told you so’ somewhere,” said Mike. Janis chimed in and said, “not sure what that says about people these days but I’m going to make it a point to actually talk to more folks”.
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