Bachelor Party 4 Guy I've Never Met
On February 11th, I received an E-Mail that started out like this:
Has anyone else noticed now that Jeff has been rocking the beard for a while - he looks like a middle aged Pavarotti? At times, he also has ventured into a bit of hipster phase. In addition to publicly questioning his fashion choices, his bachelor party will be a good time for us to celebrate him leading up to his wedding.
At first, when I first saw this in my Inbox, I didn't really know what to think. But the my next thought was, "I don't know anyone named Jeff that looks anything at all like Luchano Pavarotti"!
Curiousity now captured, I noticed there was quite a few people on the CC line - including my own E-Mail address. I studied each address, racking my brain for a number of minutes, but couldn't figure out who I knew or why I was invited.
Then, it dawned on me. I wasn't invited.
Except, I was. Just by mistake.
As the days and weeks went on, there would be periodic "Reply All" updates to everyone addressed in the original E-Mail, myself included. Over time I was able to piece together that this was occuring in Philadelphia (somewhere I've never been). The schedule of festivities would include things like enjoying some drinks / taking in some March Madness, a shuffleboard tournement (winner take all), and a bit of gambling at a local establishment for good measure. Kind of sounded like fun, actually.
At first I questioned if I should write back and ask to be removed from further ongoing E-Mails. But seeing as how many of the replies were generally entertaining to read, I thought that, perhaps, I'd just remain a "fly on the wall" for the time being. I even jokingly mentioned on Facebook a few times how I should totally "crash the party" and be "that dude that everyone has no idea who he is or why he's here".
Then, yesturday, the organizer of this bachelor's party decided to up the ante by sending out another follow-up and specifically called out all the people he hadn't yet heard from. Of course, my E-Mail address was on that list.
So, on a whim, I decided to reply back to everyone with the following:
So, I have no idea who any of you guys are, but I have been enjoying being a fly on the wall hearing about the plans for this bachelor party over the last few months.
I'm assuming my E-Mail address was added to the list by mistake (perhaps a typo of someone else?).
I live out in Seattle, WA and although for a moment I thought it might be funny to just show up and be that guy nobody knows but everyone wonders "who is that guy?", buying a plane ticket for a cross-country flight just to crash a bachelor's party might be a bit over the top (although it would be epic!).
Nonetheless, I do hope you guys have a great time and I'd like to take a moment to wish the best of luck in life to the groom!
To my surprise, fairly quickly I started getting replies back from the group like this:
I say everyone forks up an extra $20 and we get Joey a plane ticket to Philly!
I just facebooked Joey DiJulio in WA, and if this is you - you actually look like you could be related to groom. MIND BLOWN
Sure enough, the picture they dug up (re-used in the picture for this GoFundMe Account) was me. I replied back to confirm:
Haha... Yes, that is indeed me with my (now 2-year old, she was about 3-months there) daughter, Kaylee. Speaking of bachelor parties, weddings, and the like, that shot was actually taken at a wedding for a buddy of mine who also, coincidentally, happens to now live out on the east coast (Boston). Small world!
Indeed, I think I recall seeing a picture of the groom over the last few months, and noticed this as well. I'm of course glad to know he's a studly guy - His soon-to-be-wife is a lucky woman!
PS: Still kind of a mystery to me how I got on this thread, as I've never been to PA or anywhere in the NE part of our country for that matter. But, you guys seem like a cool bunch nonetheless. Perhaps I'll have to drop you folks a line if I ever make it out there for tips on tourist-type things to check out.
And then came a reply from the Groom, Jeff:
I'm overnighting you a wedding invite. You show up at the bachelor party and ill make you my best man.
You can give the toast even
As well as someone calling dibs on me being their shuffleboard partner for one of events for the evening:
I call Joey DiJulio as my shuffle board partner.
Joey, we’ll take down Minetti and the Golden Boy…make Kaylee proud. I’ll see you there!
So, what to do?
I posted a status update on Facebook to make light of the situation and the overwhelming response was pretty much summed up as follows:
They say in life, you only regret the things you don't do, not the things you do.
So, with that said, I'm going see if I can raise the funds here to go crash (well, kind of crash - I mean, I *was* invited) this party!
I've calculated the costs it will take to get me from my home town of Seattle, WA out to Philadelphia, PA to attend Jeff's bachelor's party - which is scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 28th.
The goal for this is currently $1264 which - at least as of tonight - should be able to cover round-trip airfare, hotel stay, cover charge for the event itself, and a bit of spending money for the shuffle board tourny and gambling.
Since it's under two (2) weeks away, the costs may shift a bit over the next few days, so I may have to update the goal depending on how that changes. Of course, the longer this goes, the higher the costs get, so I'm hoping if this thing actually has legs we can meet the goal in very short order!
I should also note that if I *don't* raise the goal amount, everyone's money goes back (i.e, if I don't get to the goal and don't end up going, I'm not just going to run off with people's pledges!)
A number of my buddies on Facebook have expressed a desire to throw $20 toward this. If 64 (or so) people are actually serious about that (and everything else logistically works out), I guess I'm heading to PA for a bachelor's party!
PS: If I happen to raise MORE than my goal, my pledge to you is use some of the overage to buy Jeff and his wife-to-be a nice wedding gift!
After talking it over with Jeff, we've agreed to formally end to the fundraising campaign. We didn't quite make it to the Phase 2 goal of $10,000, but we did raise well over $8,000 - which is nothing short of amazing!
The vast majority of that total was raised in the first week but we wanted to keep the campaign going a bit longer to give other folks an opportunity to be a part of this amazing story. Now that media attention has drawn down - and The Rachael Ray Show and Expedia teamed up to generously donate round-trip airfare to Italy as well as a 14-day cruise for Jeff and Amy – it’s the right time to wind things down here.
In all, we had well over 400 people from all across the United States and around the world donate.
Over 30 interviews with print, radio, and television media. It's been a marathon!
In addition to donations there were *so* many comments left on the GoFundMe website, Facebook, E-Mail and one-on-one encounters on the streets of Philly and Seattle. It's so incredibly humbling to hear from those who told us this story made their day, put a smile on their face or simply gave them a reason to be hopeful in an uncertain world. Our hearts are left full each time we read and hear those comments! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for blessing us with your kind words!
Many of you have seen the Facebook page:
I invite you to "Like" the page and continue checking in over the coming days and weeks.
I still have many pictures from my travels to get uploaded and, as many of you know, my wife, daughter & I are heading back to Philadelphia for the wedding (May 2nd)! We are thrilled to be invited to support Jeff & Amy on their special day. We are looking forward to spending more time with our new-found friends and their families. I'll keep the Facebook page updated with pictures and video clips!
Finally, I wanted to take a moment to address some of the (relatively few) folks questioning motivations of the campaign and a few "less than positive" comments left regarding raising money "to go party".
I'll try and keep it brief (those who know me well are likely laughing right now: "Wait... Joey, brief? Ha, yeah right!"), especially knowing that whatever I say won't make a difference to some. Nonetheless, I feel it's important to not let those questions and comments simply go "unanswered". My hope is that supporters and detractors alike will at least be able to understand how this evolved and keep things in perspective. So, here goes:
First and foremost, something Jeff and I have talked about in detail: We both agree that if you have "one dollar to give", this absolutely is *not* the place for that dollar to go.
There are so many MUCH more worthy places to give. Neither of us would ever represent this to be the top of anyone's list.
That said, it's also *not* a zero-sum game!
In other words, I don't believe the notion that "A dollar here is a dollar removed from somewhere else".
I truly doubt anyone who contributed $5 or $10 said to themselves "Hmmm... American Heart Association or Random Bachelor Party... That's a no-brainer! Let's party!".
Since that conversation likely *never* took place in any donor's mind, I think it’s safe to say this campaign hasn't taken anything away from any cause more deserving.
I would encourage people to look through GoFundMe. Take a few minutes to read some of the stories of folks that really do need a helping hand. When you find a story you connect with, by all means, please give - and give generously. I know I have - and I invite you to as well!
There are those that simply have a philosophical problem with any funding campaign for *anything* but a truly dire situation; and I can respect that.
GoFundMe does not impose many restrictions, but rather, allows the open market to self-determine if something receives funding or not.
As such, GoFundMe campaigns run the gamut - from the most dire situations where people's lives may be literally hanging in the balance to the most absurd where you can’t help but shake your head wondering what the campaign creator was thinking.
I think it's safe to say that this story is neither extreme. Okay... Perhaps it's a bit tilted toward the absurd - I'll grant that - but there are much more oddball ones out there, to be sure!
For my part in all of this, I just want people to know that I have always tried my best to represent this story for exactly what it is - nothing more, nothing less.
When I first set this up, I honestly didn't think it was going to go anywhere - perhaps I'd get a few buddies to send over $30 or $40 in all, then it would fizzle out and I'd move on with life.
In fact, I even mentioned that when I *didn’t* meet the goal, I would just refund everyone’s donations. I never really thought I'd actually end up buying a plane ticket and heading to Philly... But I did!
When funding took off and met the initial goal in just 20 hours, I didn't really know what to do next. People were still connecting with the story, media attention was picking up steam and donations were still pouring in. So just before my first national TV interview on CNN/HLN, I decided to set a new challenge - to see if this campaign could try to do something really meaningful for this bride and groom I had yet to meet - and people responded in a huge way.
But still, even when I set that new lofty goal of $10,000, it was something "out there" - not something I really thought we'd end up getting all that close to. But, in the end, we got over 80% of the way there, because so many folks wanted to be a part of this.
So why then do so many other campaigns - many of which are much more "important" - not get the same response?
That's a tough question – one I wonder myself. The best I can surmise is that, perhaps, it’s ultimately because people wanted to be a part of something fun, exciting, or just connected with a "good" story.
Consider this: If you turn on the news, what do you expect to see? I'm not sure about you, but when I watch the news it seems to me there is no lack of sad and depressing stuff going on in the world. So, maybe it’s just that people are sick and tired of it - Sick and tired of all of the sadness, violence and hurt in the world.
Perhaps they just were happy to hear a story that seemed a bit silly, a bit ridiculous, a "what are the odds" tale - but nonetheless brought their spirits up. Indeed, for those that donated, I think just about each and every one of them would agree that this story simply made them smile - so they donated. Once again; nothing more and nothing less.
That's my thoughts. I know they won't be enough to please everyone. Those that know me well, know that at times I expend a great deal of energy trying to make everyone happy. But I recognize that on this sort of scale it's just not going to be in the cards to get everyone on the same page.
Hopefully it's answered some questions / concerns that a few folks may have had. If it does, it's been worth the time.
If anyone still has questions or concerns, please reach out to me through GoFundMe or Facebook and I'd be happy to have a one-on-one conversation with you about anything you'd like to know. I am an open book and would love to answer any questions you may have.
In closing, Jeff and I would like to once again thank everyone for the interest and donations. Jeff and I are building what I'm sure will be a great, life-long, cross-country friendship and we owe it all to each of you!
Blessings to you and yours, always!
What a journey these last few weeks have been!
I'd like to say thank you, first and foremost, to the over 400 people that have given $5, $10, $20, even $1000 (!!!) to this campaign. Your generosity has been far and away beyond what I ever expected. Thank you for your interest in this story and supporting this new found friendship Jeff and I are building together.
I am excited to announce that I'll be appearing on The Rachael Ray show today!
It has already aired in some markets, but not quite yet in others. You can check here:
To look up the channel and time of day it airs in your market.
If you miss the show, the great folks over at Rachael were kind enough to get clips of the segment (split into two videos) posted up on their website, which you can find here:
Thank you Rachael and team for having us on your show. It was a blast to meet you and be able to connect with your viewers!
Lastly, I also wanted to officially announce that my wife, daughter, and I will be heading back to Philly in early May to attend Jeff and Amy's wedding! I'd like to offer a special thank you to Jeff and Amy for graciously offering to cover our airfare back out to PA from the donations amount in order to allow that return trip to happen! Nacole, Kaylee, and I are so excited to be able to share your special day with you, in person!
Many of you have asked to be kept updated throughout this journey. I've done my best to capture pictures and video and get them uploaded to the official Facebook page. I still have a metric TON of pictures to get up there, and I'll also be sure to keep everyone updated as we get closer to that trip and will certainly keep updating the Facebook page with pictures and video from the wedding as well:
Thanks again everyone!
Today is the day :)
Soon I'll be heading over to the airport and be on my way out to Philadelphia!
I would like to apologize for the extended radio silence since the last update. This past week has been a whirlwind of sorts doing print, radio, and television interviews.
The funding campaign has been doing quite well, raising north of 82% of it's goal at the time I write this. If you haven't already, share this story with family and friends!
The bachelor party has added another event to our list of festivities - And that is a "Ride The Duck" tour, donated to our group at no cost (thanks!).
Duck tours are one of my favorite things to do with out of town folks. As a matter of fact, I've ridden the one in Seattle a number of times now (even though I live here) and have loved it every time!
If you haven't already, please check out the Facebook page:
In addition to being a place where I update media interviews we have been doing, I will also being uploading pictures and video clips of the party here as well (Note: There may be some delay from the party itself and when I get pictures and video clips uploaded).
If this is your first time visiting this site, just know that the fundraising campaign is still running in full swing!
I want to once again thank all of our amazing supports (over 400 at last count) who have donated anywhere between $5 all the way up to $1000 (!!!) to this campaign. Today is going to be a great adventure and tomorrow will be even more fun!
Thank you for your continued support!
The word of the day for today is: Media!
This campaign has been getting quite a bit of press time both in print and radio media. There may even be some television spots to come!
If there is one thing I want to make clear for anyone visiting this page for the first time it is this:
The fundraising campaign is still in full swing!
I want to thank everyone who has donated once again for your support. It's going to be an amazing adventure for me, but what I really want to do now is start focusing in like a laser beam on the real story behind the craziness - and that story is about Jeff and his wife-to-be.
Having gotten to know Jeff (about as much as you can in 48-hours via a billion or so E-Mails, Texts, Facebook IMs, etc), he and his wife seem like the kind of people anyone would be blessed to be able to call friends.
And, actually, I've been getting to know Jeff for a bit more than just 48-hours, because my first introduction to him was actually back on February 11th when that first E-Mail came through.
What I've seen, both when he knew I was listening and not, was a genuine and down-to-earth guy who likes to joke, to laugh and most of all appears to have a great heart.
So if the original goal, what I'll call "Phase 1", was just to just get me to Philly; Mission accomplished!
What I want to focus on now in Phase 2 is being able to continue raising funds to help pay for the honeymoon in Italy for Jeff and his wife-to-be.
We've already been able to make this bachelor's party one heck of a night to remember, but let's continue this little experiment so we can make his honeymoon that much more memorable!
Thank you for your support!
i just wanted to say i think that u r an angel in peoples clothing and if the world had just a few wonderful caring and that have a sense of humor also this wouldnt be such an ugly hatefilled world. i have prayed daily and this may be very selfish and if u feel that i apologize but i ask that god put someone such as yourself that might be able to open the worlds eyes to my situation. now plz know as u said in ur explanation about it not being the most important page out there, i realize mine also is not anywhere near the well not even the top 2/3 however i know there r people out there if they knew the situation im in they would open their hearts and help with even the smallest of donations in which anything woiuld be appreciated and it all adds up. unfortunetly i dont know whats going on but i dont have many friends since in changing my life i had to leave everything and everyone alone so id appreciate any help or direction u might be able to school me with and i would greatfully take every word to heart and put it to use, i must be doing something wrong. how does anyone see ur page if u really have no friends to put it out there or share it. i will give u my phone # or i hope u will message me back n let me know where im going left. ifu cant or just dont have interest or desire in my case i totally respect that and i would just thank u for taking the time to even read this. i wish u all the best in life, u have definetly earned ur space above, keep up the loving way of life, heres my #253-649-4161 my name is heather santos/gig harbor washington
For all of the people throwing tantrums. No one has been forced to donate to this cause. I have friends battling cancer, I rescue and foster abused animals. I give to those causes too. A friends son passed away, I donated to the funeral expenses. You get the point. Most people, if they have money to give, give it in those places too. Bottom line, we go out and work our butts off to earn the money and it's ours to spend how we see fit. It's ridiculous that you try to turn something positive into something ugly. We all have things we are dealing with, the "entitled" attitude being displayed here by some of you is a little frightening.
it was fun to cover your story here in philly...... here is the link to the video..... http://www.myfoxphilly.com/story/28636533/man
Are Jeff and his new bride still going to honeymoon in Italy with the extra funds?
Why don't you do is a favor and donate to that then please refer to the comments below. This page isn't for negativity
OMG really??? ppl will donate to anything why don't they give their money to some children who are starving to death or are dying as they've no clean water or the millions of other major charities that actually help instead of someone to have a party n drink alcohol with strangers x
Now I'm curious how many other people will be crashing this party since on Fox News (normally don't watch them at all) Jeff, the groom mentioned the name of the bar the party will be held. I think this story has more legs than my best 'wine'. Have a great time all! The bride to be must also have a great sense of humor.
Cute story. Since the email was added accidentally, I am wondering who was the person who was supposed to be on the list? "They should add this "other guy left out" (possibly with same name?) to the story!
This is such a fun thing. Best wishes to the couple, this will definitely be a trip to remember!
I don't know what Megan Jones' problem is, but the goal of that Bruce Almighty cat was $5000 and they've raised almost $16.000 already. Its not as if nobody has been donating anything for that cat. He had more than he asked for already! Why not be happy that someone else is getting some money too??
Seriously no need to be so rude. Move on if you done like the story or donations. No one cares about your stupid fucking cat shit. Just because you're the cat lady and you have no life and nothing better to do doesn't mean you have to be so damn heartless grow the hell up.
Hey Megan Jones, you awful piece of human excrement! How about this: Donate the money you spend in an average week on junk food, carbs, and fat to that injured cat? Then we'll have a deal. Look in the mirror and stop shaming other people, you bully.
Congratulations guys. It's amazing that this is my girlfriends sister an I hope she has an amazing wedding because she got a great guy (Jeff) an I have met both of course an they are both amazing individuals and I hope my wedding is this amazing with the brides sister Rebecca Lee. I love you sweetheart an I hope we are next in line to be married.
How about all you people donating to this jerk off, who needs to pay his own way, put your money to something more worthwhile like this: http://mashable.com/2015/03/23/bruce-almighty-cat-abused/?utm_cid=mash-com-fb-main-link
Who is anyone to say what person deserves something over the next. You don't like the story, trust it, or agree with it, great...leave the page and dont donate. It's not rocket science, but there's no need to get angry, jealous, or go out of your way to try and ruin someone else's happiness. I for one found this refreshing and hope you guys have a blast! All I ask is a tequila shot done for me and my donation ;)
i think this is cute. If people want to give money so be it. Don't knock the guy. People are donating because they want to. Because it makes them happy . Everyone should do something that makes them happy. I think its a a cute story. :) Like
How Do I get this kind of help on my Gofundme page? My girlfriend really needs help getting her first car.
Paying it forward on their part doesn't need to involve money. Paying it forward means that you're doing something COMPASSIONATELY for someone else. Before you say something, please think about how it would make someone else feel. There's no need for negativity here and honestly, will no longer be tolerated.
haters gonna hate!
Here's a thought, if you don't like his cause, don't donate.