Jason Gasparik was desperate to find a lost dog’s owner when he took to a busy Ballantyne intersection with the dog and a cardboard sign. His act of kindness went viral. (Eben Patten Photography via The Charlotte Observer) (Eben Patten Photography)
CHARLOTTE, NC (Cristina Bolling/The Charlotte Observer) – Last month, much of Charlotte fell in love with Jason Gasparik after he reunited a lost dog with its owner by standing on a busy street corner with the dog a cardboard sign asking “Do you know this lost dog?”
On Friday, Gasparik’s tale lands him on “The Steve Harvey Show,” (at 3 p.m. on WBTV), and the media blitz stemming from his Good Samaritan act isn’t showing signs of slowing down.
Last week, Gasparik went to Hollywood to appear on Harvey’s show, as well as the Hallmark Channel’s “Home and Family” daytime TV show (both shows tape in Los Angeles’ Universal Studios).
The Charlotte Knights asked him to throw out the first pitch at one of their games last week (the Monday night game was rained out), and he’s been doing radio interviews with stations across the country.
“It’s like 15 minutes of fame, right? But every time I think it’s the 15th minute, some other article pops up somewhere, and all of a sudden the 14th minute is back into overtime,” Gasparik laughs.
To recap, Gasparik was driving through Ballantyne one Friday night in early March when he came across a family trying to rescue a dog that was clearly lost. He successfully loaded the dog into his car, and for the next two afternoons, he took her to the corner of Rea Road and Ballantyne Commons Parkway with a cardboard sign, looking for the owner.
Gasparik’s efforts went viral on social media, and before he knew it, he was getting interview requests from media outlets in faraway cities. He decided to use the attention to shine a light on the need for people to get their pets microchipped — and to register those chips. (Roxy was microchipped, but because the chip was not registered into a database, it wasn’t helpful in locating the dog’s owner.)
Soon after news broke of Roxy’s rescue, Gasparik created a gofundme page to spread the message of chip registration, and he says he’s already had discussions with companies like Walmart, Pods and Lowe’s about getting chip registration added to the to-do checklists they offer for people who are moving.
He’s also hoping to use the funds to pay the U.S. Postal Service to insert a flier about pet microchipping into the packets given out to people who register changes of address.
As for the “The Steve Harvey Show,” Gasparik says he didn’t know what to expect when he showed up at the studio to tape the segment last week, and indeed, Harvey’s approach was a little surprising.
Harvey spent much of the segment talking about Gasparik’s love life (he’s recently separated from his wife, and women have commented online about wanting to date him), while photos from Gasparik’s Instagram account flashed on a big screen in the studio.
“They were showing all these pictures of me and the dog and all the girls in the audience were oohing and aahing,” Gasparik laughs.
For as awkward as it may be to have his dating life discussed on national television, Gaspark says it’s worth it if it draws attention to chip registration. He says he’s encouraged by the many messages he’s gotten from people who read his story and reach out to say that it reminded them to register their pets.
“If that’s part of the conversation that leads into what’s this is really all about,” Gasparik says, “then I’m OK with that.”