When local Athens creator Dan Copper gifted several house plants to Jacqueline Krim, a former employee of Busy Day Market, Krim felt compelled to return the favor, thus acting on the old proverb, “one act of kindness sparks another.”
Krim, a December 2020 graduate of Ohio University’s civil engineering program, began working at Busy Day Market on Stimson Avenue during the summer of 2020 when her internship was canceled due to the pandemic.
“I was supposed to go back to the place I interned last summer in 2019,” said Krim, who no longer works at Busy Day because she plans to relocate soon. “It got canceled because of COVID, so I moved down here [to Athens].”
Because Copper frequents the corner store, most of the employees know his name. Making small talk, the artist, who lives alone, spoke with Krim about his distaste for rain but conceded that it was great for his plants.
That sparked a conversation.
“Three days later, there was a plant sitting [in the store] … for me, and I asked my co-workers, ‘Where'd that come from? Did we get a plant at Busy Day?’ That's, like, not a thing — so out of character for us — but they're like, ‘No, Dan brought it for you,’” Krim said. “Truthfully, [he was the] first person ever, first guy ever to give me like a plant.”
“I now have 57 in my apartment, and 30 I think are from him,” she said.
Though she indicated her plant collection is massive, it pales in comparison to Copper’s own.
After she thanked him, Copper began to share resources about plant care with Krim and has gifted her many more plants since the first.
“I had over 500 house plants at one point. But I'm trying, believe it or not, to simplify my life. I need to downsize seriously,” Copper said, and so he continued to transplant pieces of his own indoor garden into Krim’s home.
"When I found out that he used almost 100% recycled material, I was like, ‘I think we were meant to meet.'"
The more Krim got to know Copper and his generosity, the more she wanted to repay him by finding a way to sell his art despite the pandemic-related shutdowns. So, she began photographing his work and posting it for sale on Facebook marketplace.
“When I found out that he used almost 100% recycled material, I was like, ‘I think we were meant to meet,’” said Krim, who focused on environmental engineering during her undergraduate education. “Then he told me his financial issues and I was like, ‘I have a social media platform as a 22-year-old,’ so I ... decided we were meant to meet — I'm gonna help.”
“It's a lifesaver,” Copper said of Krim’s social media work. “I was seriously worried about running out of money.”
"I was seriously worried about running out of money."
While Copper said he’s grateful for Krim’s assistance, he acknowledges that even with the few expenses he does have, things are still a struggle.
“I really live on so little. I don't need much. But, you know, there is rent and utilities, and I do eat some. Some — not very much these days,” he said. “And yes, I drink beer. I do drink the cheapest, strongest beer I can find. Not because it's my favorite, but because it's cheap and strong.”
Before the shutdowns, Copper said he was planning to be a vendor for the third year in a row at Wisteria, a campground in Pomeroy, Ohio that holds festivals during the summer months. Had his revenues followed the trend of his past two years at Wisteria, Copper said he may have sold enough of his wares to cover a year’s worth of expenses.
Instead, Copper expressed he might need to find roommates to help with some of the household expenses.
“There's a very good chance I'm gonna lose this house soon,” he said. “And I really am not equipped to deal with that. … (I) literally don't know what I'm gonna do.”