A 2-Year-Old Detroit Boy Drowns, Then Come Random Acts of Kindness
In Detroit, we often hear about random acts of violence in the news. We seldom hear about random acts of kindness.
Here’s a story about the latter.
Jomon Darnell Davis Jr. was an angelic looking 2-year-old boy. His mother and soon-to-be stepfather bought a four-foot deep pool for his birthday. Jamon took to it like a fish. He loved it. He couldn’t get enough of it. On July 6, four days after his birthday, out of view of any adults, Jomon jumped into the water and drowned in his backyard on Evergreen Road near West Chicago on Detroit’s west side.
It was heart wrenching for the parents. It was heart wrenching for the public, which saw the story on the local TV news.
The parents didn’t have much money. And they certainly didn’t have enough to bury the boy.
So they sold barbecued hot dogs and bottled water on their front lawn last weekend to raise money. They didn’t charge any particular price. Some folks donated $5. Alexander McKinley, 23, the boy’s mother’s fiance, who had been with the kid since day one, and considered him his son, says some people gave $100. They raised roughly $2,500.
They were still short.
Jeff Mandziuk, the funeral director for E.J. Mandziuk & Son Funeral Directors in Macomb County, was watching TV with his wife. They saw a news report about the family selling water and hot dogs to raise money.
“I saw the newscast, it broke my heart,” Mandziuk said. So he called the funeral home in Detroit and offered to donate a casket and a vault. When he spoke to the Santieu Vaults Inc. in Livonia, the company decided it wanted to donate the vault, which holds the casket in place in the ground.
Mandziuk says he would have liked to have attended the funeral on Friday. But he didn’t go.
“I couldn’t bear to see the little tyke in the casket,” he said. “Neither could my wife.”
Hundreds attended the service at the Alpha Omega Baptist Church on Fenkell in Detroit. One of those people, Linda Mudryk, described it as “very emotional, very heartfelt. There was a lot of love.”
At the Ellis Funeral Home on Grand River in Detroit, Jeff Perkins, a driver, said the home was very generous and provided some things gratus including a limo and two sedans for the procession to the burial site in Livonia.
Mckinley, the fiance, who spoke to me after the funeral, says he was touched by peoples’ generosity.
But he still spoke sadly of the boy he called son, and the boy who called him “dad.”
“He was the most respectful 2-year-old. I had bought that pool for his birthday. He fell in love with it and he wanted to get in.”
It’s heartening to hear of random acts of kindness in the city. Too bad sometimes they have to come after random acts of tragedy.