Utah Jazz goalie Jordan Clarkson greets fans as he leaves the field after the NBA team’s basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, May 5, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (Rick Bowmer, Associated Press)
LAYTON – Ben Pierce thought it must be a prank call.
World Famous Yum Yum Food Truck co-owner had just received a call from a woman who told him 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 tried to get out to eat in the truck? This Jordan Clarkson?
“My son says, ‘This is a joke, don’t play with them,’” Pierce told KSL.com.
It was just too hard to believe.
But that’s also what happened to the Filipino family food truck last weekend. On Sunday morning, Pierce woke up to find the front of the truck spray painted with anti-Asian slurs; it was a big blow.
“We’re so hurt right now,” read a Yum Yum post on Facebook.
Today, a few days later, Pierce considers this tragic event a blessing.
Layton City Councilor Zach Bloxham was saddened and angry 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 it will attract attention to bring some people to justice and help the business.
“I just did my best to contact the folks at Yum Yum and let them know that they had someone who cared about them,” Bloxham said. “I just thought if there was a way to share this on one of my platforms that hopefully could catch those involved first and then maybe see if we can fix it. one way or another. “
The messages began to have more and more success, and soon the cure came.
It happened in the form of people stopping to ask how they could help; it happened thanks to a donation of money and time; it arrived at the people who planned to come and eat at the truck as soon as it was ready to serve again.
It was all a bit overwhelming for Pierce.
“I don’t really cry that much, you know?” he said. “Emotionally, you just can’t believe – we love Utah per se, but when the community is so loving. All the love we receive is amazing, we couldn’t ask for anything else.”
And that was all before a phone call from the Clarkson representative. Because it wasn’t a joke – it was this Jordan Clarkson.
“I’ve had a lot of people retweeting it and people who aren’t in my circles,” Bloxham said of its publication on Twitter about the incident. “I know a few people tagged him (Clarkson) from my tweet. So that’s just one of the perks and blessings of social media.”
Within days, a family business running a Filipino truck in Layton, Utah was connected with a proud Filipino-American NBA player who was playing for the home team.
Clarkson wanted to pay to wrap the truck in new graphics, but a local company, Identity Graphx, had previously offered to pack it for free. Clarkson and Identity Graphx have finished work together to provide Yum Yum with the wrap. But Clarkson didn’t think it was enough. Pierce soon received another call saying that Clarkson wanted to detail the interior; and Wednesday morning, Clarkson reps called again asking him to write Pierce a check.
“We were like, ‘Oh, that’s too much!’” Said Pierce.
There was also another thing: 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 fans of jazz, like they were in the 80s,” Pierce said, his voice rising with excitement. “Even when we moved to Washington, they still support our Jazz. Especially Jordan being Filipino. To the Filipino community he is like a hero.”
After Clarkson’s involvement, Pierce was repeatedly asked if Clarkson would be in attendance at the Philippine Independence Day celebration this Saturday. He laughs at the question – the sixth man of the year is going to be a little busy.
“We were like, ‘Leave Jordan alone, he’s in the playoffs. We’re going to the championship!’” Pierce said with a laugh. “Dude, this guy is a hero. This tragedy is a blessing I would say. Just people coming together. I’ve never seen anything like it.”