(EDISON, N.J.) — BY: ALICE CHAMBERS
One artist has found a personal way to thank essential workers during the COVID 19 crisis.
Eddie Lin, a 22-year-old balloon artist from Edison, New Jersey, would typically spend spring and early summer making balloons for weddings and other celebrations, as well as entertaining kids at birthday parties. This year, amid the pandemic, everything is a bit different. Instead, he has turned his talents to bringing a smile to those working on the front lines.
“Balloons just automatically give people a sense of joy and happiness,” his mother, Jenny Lin, told ABC News. “I think with this pandemic, people are getting creative and showing [essential workers] appreciation in many different ways, and this is a great way of bring everyone together.”
Lin, who was diagnosed with autism when he was a baby, normally works part time at the local library, and volunteers part time at a local special needs school in addition to creating his balloon art.
“With the pandemic, the library is closed, and obviously school is closed,” Jenny Lin said. So the family suggested another way for Lin to put his balloon skills to use while showing gratitude and appreciation to front-line workers.
The family has been sharing photos of Lin’s creations on Facebook and Instagram, where he goes by Ausome Balloon Creator.
Lin made a balloon shopping cart for his best friend’s mother, who is an essential worker in a local supermarket, and posted it with the caption: “Remember to thank your grocery store clerks and managers!”
He made another to honor the mailman. “Thank you to the postal workers who are delivering through snow, sleet, and pandemic! Mail is important!”
He made another balloon for a medical worker at New York University, the boyfriend of his boss at the library.
Balloon art as a ‘bridge to meet more people’
Lin first became interested in balloon art 12 years ago at age 10. He taught himself from YouTube videos until his mother, realizing how seriously interested he was, organized some classes for him on a trip to Taiwan. Lin’s talent led the family to create a small business where he makes balloon art for special events and takes requests (The Hulk is his favorite!).
“It’s really a family effort,” said Jenny, who takes orders and writes down the specifics of how the balloon should look. “I need to translate your need to him. He calls me his illustrator!”
Her daughter, Cindy, helps with social media, and her other son, Jim, accompanies Lin when he entertains at kids’ parties. Jenny’s husband is the delivery person.
They don’t advertise. News of Eddie’s art travels by word of mouth.
Jenny said that balloon art has helped Lin learn how to interact with people. “I have seen the growth in him. He now talks to people with confidence,” she explained. “He is really out there in the community.”
As Lin’s story has been shared and garnered positive attention on social media, Jenny said he’s received many requests to see if Lin can make balloons for essential workers in their own families. Some have also shared their own stories of how they too have been impacted by autism.
“We’re just a normal regular family,” she said. “We’re very thankful that people are inspired by his story.”
While balloons are usually for happy occasions, if the pandemic has showed her anything, it’s that “no matter how hard this is, we should all enjoy life and celebrate life.”
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