Editorials

Sun Herald | Editorial: Scuba Steve has friends - indeed

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Steve Johnson is known throughout South Mississippi as Scuba Steve, the T-shirt entrepreneur who always has a smile and hug for friends. Scuba Steve told his followers via social media this week that helps battling stage three colorectal cancer.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Steve Johnson is known throughout South Mississippi as Scuba Steve, the T-shirt entrepreneur who always has a smile and hug for friends. Scuba Steve told his followers via social media this week that helps battling stage three colorectal cancer. SUN HERALD

This is a feel-good story with some of our favorite ingredients: compassion, social media ... and pizza.

"Scuba Steve" Johnson started out as a long shot entrepreneur, selling T-shirts from his Tahoe on the side of the road. Then the Tahoe was repossessed. But he didn't give up. His grandfather helped him get his business back up and running.

From there, his business plan was pretty simple. Remember your customers' names and give everyone who buys a shirt a hug. On his Twitter page, he promises to give a shirt to a person in need every time he sells one.

His T-shirt biz took off. He became a fixture at festivals, making a ton of friends along the way. People bought his shirts online, too. Life was good.

Then this year he learned he had cancer.

He had to put the T-shirt business on hold for that fight. When he posted a selfie on Facebook to let friends know, his fight became a social media sensation: 1,000 text messages, 3,000 Facebook messages and even more emails.

After the Sun Herald's Justin Mitchell profiled Scuba Steve last weekend, his story spread further. On Wednesday, a local Domino's chain offered to donate 20 percent of every pizza purchase to Scuba Steve.

On Thursday, the pizza chain gave him a check for $12,500 in a ceremony disguised as a pizza delivery.

If you follow #scubastrong on social media, you can see this wondrous story unfold. Some of the people who spent a total of $62,500 on pizza Wednesday will be there with photos of their pizzas.

This wasn't the first outpouring of support for Scuba Steve and it won't be the last.

That's just the way of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Social media, and the media in general, has earned some notoriety as a waste of time and a repository of hateful comments, bullying and too many cat videos.

But the media just as often gets it right. We're proud to have played a role in helping the Coast rally around Scuba Steve. And we're proud to live in a community quick to extend a helping hand.

This editorial represents the views of the Sun Herald editorial board. Opinions expressed by columnists, cartoonists and letter writers are their own.

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