Aiden Serr, a much-loved 19-year-old university student from Maple Ridge, died after crashing his vehicle early in the morning along Lougheed Highway in November. And in celebration of what would have been his 20th birthday, his family is calling on others to commit a random act of kindness.
The random act of kindness will pay tribute to Aiden as someone who was always helping others, his family told Black Press Media.
Barb Serr remembers when her grandson – who would have turned 20 on Jan. 3 – was young and hanging out with his cousin Hailey. They would lift a board to a barn on their grandparents’ property and try and save all the bugs and worms from the birds.
That’s why Hailey called him ‘Bug.’
Barb also recalls stories teachers told her about how Aiden, when in high school, would give lunch money to students who didn’t have food.
And his grandfather, Jim Serr, tells how Aiden, in minor hockey, was never a player who needed to score goals, but took pride in passing the puck and setting up others.
“He was always giving stuff to everybody,” Barb said.
Sometimes he was too busy helping others to do his homework.
If friends needed help, even late at night, they would go to Aiden and knock on his bedroom window.
His parents are both like that.
His father is Abbotsford Police deputy chief Mike Serr, while his mother, Kirsten Urdahl-Serr, is a local teacher.
Jim said when Mike first started out as a police officer in Vancouver, he was always giving his lunch away to someone who needed it more.
Barb said Kirsten is known to keep food in a desk drawer at school for those who need it, and often spends lunch hour in her classroom helping students.
“That’s just the way they are,” Barb said.
That’s the way Aiden was, and now his family wants to inspire others to be the same.
Aiden was studying film and biology at Simon Fraser University after graduating from Maple Ridge secondary in 2016. He was an avid photographer who wanted to one day shoot for National Geographic. He also loved nature and his SPCA rescue dog, Willy.
Aiden also played minor hockey, as well as box and field lacrosse and ball hockey for local clubs and a school team. He was a captain on various teams.
Simon Fraser University created a memorial fund to honour Aiden, and exceeded its goal of raising $25,000, while hundreds of people packed into Maple Ridge Baptist Church to celebrate Aiden’s life.
His mother has said the family is blessed to have many photos that show how Aiden viewed the world.
“The beauty of the outdoors was inspiring to him,” Kirsten said previously. “And animals were his focus.”
Everyone knew him as gregarious and fun, but she describes him as a sensitive kid, who looked out for the little guy. That’s what the teachers at Alexander Robinson elementary told her about her son.
“He stood up for the kids who needed somebody else’s voice,” she said. “And if he felt there was a wrong, he spoke up. It’s always been about ‘what’s right’.”
His dad got the opportunity to coach him, and in sports like hockey and lacrosse Aiden could be a warrior.
“He was not always the best player on his teams, but he had a work ethic and he understood teamwork,” said Mike.
When his team won a championship banner, Aiden accepted as the team captain, then took it and handed it off not to the next in line, but a teammate who he knew would appreciate the gesture.
“He just does stuff – he doesn’t look for permission or support,” Kirsten said of Aiden. “He just does what he needs to do.”
The family wants to see that continue in others, because, Jim said, sometimes we forget.
“This has left a real hole in our family,” adds Barb, “and just everyone doing something nice for someone else makes us feel happy because that’s what Aiden would do.”
• To join the event, see https://www.facebook.com/events/1916611391714879/