The billboard is un-missable. Towering over a heavy traffic zone just off I-69 in Flint, the deep blue sign with white lettering reads simply “I’m Concerned About the Blueberries.”
The cryptic message had locals, and then people everywhere as the story spread virally, guessing. Was it about drugs? Global warming? The economy?
Turns out, none of the above. It was the work of local Flint businessman Phil Shaltz, who rented the billboard space to help spread the idea of caring for something larger than ourselves.
He relates the story of a young Alaskan man who was concerned about a lack of rain and what it might mean for the state’s blueberry crop. And it was an ah-a moment for Shaltz.
“We all go through the day and we see people who have blueberries – their own issues – and we don’t do anything,” said Shaltz in an interview with Jeremy Allen of MLive.com. Even when it’s not about rain, when it’s something we can impact, we show just how desensitized we’ve become. We aren’t as helpful to the common man in even the small things in life.”
And if you’ve been around Flint in the last several decades, you know it’s a city of huge concerns. And it’s also a city full of people with huge hearts, like Shaltz, who claims the goal of his billboard stunt “was to encourage people to make positive impacts in other people’s lives and to pay those efforts forward whenever possible.”
So the next time you see blueberries, you just might want to help someone in some way. This might be an idea worth spreading.