Up Beat is a new section of the Bangor Daily News dedicated to uplifting stories. Look for tales of people helping people and things that will make you smile.
For those who drove by Levant Corner Store on Monday and watched a man dressed up as He-Man deliver curbside food to customers, Jason Clark has a simple explanation.
“Every town needs its hero,” said Clark, also known (for two hours on Monday afternoon, at least) as He-Man.
Of course, the story is more complicated than that.
It all started last Wednesday, when Clark’s wife, Jamie, saw that the store’s Facebook page had about 3,400 “likes.” Jamie Clark turned to Jason Clark and said, “I bet I can get that to 5,000 before the end of the day Friday.”
Jason Clark took that bet, against his wife’s bold prediction. The stakes: The loser would have to dress up in a costume of the winner’s choice. And the marquee in front of the store would display a special message.
On Monday, that message showed exactly how the bet had turned out: “JAMIE WAS RIGHT,” the board shouted. “I WAS WRONG.”
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Jamie Clark, for the record, is also the owner of The Willie Wags in Bangor. Faced with a social media challenge, she fired off a Facebook video challenging her friends to help her reach the goal. Jason followed with a video of his own, but by then, the die was cast.
The initial goal was reached easily, and by noon on Tuesday, the Levant Corner Store had more than 6,100 “likes” on Facebook.
Jason Clark said the bet was a bit arbitrary, and that the real goal was to create some levity for the Levant community during a difficult time, as people are obeying the state stay-at-home order and living largely solitary lives.
“It’s not the same. People seem to be walking around with their heads down a lot more than normal,” Jason Clark said. “There’s always something bad in the news. There’s never something really putting a smile on anybody’s faces.”
And now, there is: He-Man, delivering pizzas to curbside customers.
Jason Clark was a good sport, and said customers seemed to enjoy the diversion.
“I was getting ribbed quite a bit,” he said. “[People said] ‘Nice legs,’ and ‘Man, you must work out,’ and ‘Isn’t it a little bit too cold to be wearing a loincloth?’”
One car passing by did a U-turn so that the backseat passengers — all young children — could meet the super hero.
“I don’t know if they truly understood who He-Man was, but they knew that he was awesome,” he said.
The Clarks aren’t done yet, though. At least, that’s what Jason Clark said.
“When we get to 10,000 likes, that’s when Jamie’s going to put on the costume that I picked out,” he said with a laugh.
For now, Jason and Jamie Clark are happy to have spent some time brightening up the lives of those who stop by the store, or drive past, or who simply catch up with their antics on Facebook.
“There are people who are home who are just looking to smile and see some good things in the world right now,” Jamie Clark said. “There’s a real captive audience online that’s looking to share that. That’s really what this is: Giving people the opportunity to enjoy something fun and lighthearted and kind and nice. And just spread the love.”