The Happiness Guy in St Petersburg

By Published On: September 21st, 2022

The Happiness Guy in St Petersburg

Published on 9/21/22: Who has seen the “Happiness” signs around our area? A few months ago, I discussed how our family spent time with Gary King, the creator of those signs. The conversation, his 31 years of research, and the history of the signs was fascinating, yet heartbreaking at the same time. Gary, the Happiness Guy, has encouraged me to share further, raising awareness of a widespread concern. Mental health.

Mental Health Awareness

We often don’t realize, but our friends, neighbors and family members may right now be struggling. We ALL will struggle at some point, and there are serious implications if we don’t have the support we need. Gary said you’re welcome to reach out to him, if the above hits home: [email protected] or connect with him on Facebook. I’m grateful to have a platform of 16K+ people, between Instagram and Facebook, to share local stories such as Gary’s. 5+ TV stations we’re ahead of me, though I suspect some missed it.

Father-Son Connection

Followers know most of my posts involve father-son “adventures” with my 7yr old, Colt. (last paragraph of post for more info) During my conversation with Gary, I learned that he lost his only child at the Skyway Bridge. His son, Jason, took his own life. To aid in the grieving process and do everything in his power to prevent it from happening again, he developed the signs. He began hanging them around our area on November 7th, 2019. He’s also responsible for the newer fencing along the Skyway Bridge.

Happiness Guy Signs All Over St Pete

To date, the “Happiness Guy” has hung 353 of the signs, at his expense. Words are powerful and can influence us in many ways. Gary told me “To date, the signs have stopped suicides, stopped depression, stopped anxiety and more.“ These are durable fiberglass and aluminum signs, designed to help people for a very long time.
Gary said in a message to me: “A young girl I’ve made friends with, was headed to the Skyway to jump a year ago, saw a Happiness sign on the way to the bridge. It reminded her of my personal story she saw on a breaking TV news story, she turned around and went back home, I see her about every two weeks.”

Buying a Happiness Sign in St Pete

If you would like to embrace the Happiness Guy’s cause, the signs can be purchased at Enchanted Notions. Address is 633 Central Ave, St Pete (downtown). He told me that the money raised is a donation to the city and residents.
Gary’s cause has been highlighted by multiple news outlets. He’s writing his second book and there’s ongoing discussion about a Netflix Documentary around his many trauma’s “and the fact that I just had a 100% cure of my Complex PTSD, which to my knowledge has never happened to anyone. People can only manage PTSD and Complex PTSD, there has never been a cure.”
Have you driven or walked past a Happiness sign recently? I’d love to know the area you spotted it! 😊

Quick Version of the LovingStPete Story

Long time followers know my son and I started LovingStPete out of the Covid lockdown. We wanted a theme. We considered sports, DIY projects, kids tv shows, etc, but decided on #SupportLocal, as life in general seemed upside down for a while. For me personally, it gives more purpose to my job, my page, and certainly a nudge to spend more time with Colt. I’ve written 275 very verbose 😬 posts about our community, yet likely less than 10 paragraphs about real estate in these 2 years. Most of that in these last few days. If I win the lottery, I won’t need to mention my job at all. #Goals. In the meantime, I unfortunately do, but I’m trying to find a way to benefit our community and you in the process. More on that plan coming soon…
Aside from the photos with me in them, 📸 credit to Gary King on Facebook.

I started LovingStPete on Facebook and Instagram to help clients and others learn about the Tampa Bay area. It’s now followed by over 25K people! You’ll receive up to K at closing when you use my LovingStPete Team to buy or sell a property! My past includes developing a vacation rental advertising company, which I ran for a decade, and then sold to HomeAway/VRBO.

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Written by : St Petersburg Realtor, Mike Braswell

Mike Braswell is a Tampa Bay Realtor, serving St Petersburg, Clearwater, all nearby beaches and more. Mike started LovingStPete in October of 2020 after a difficult year took its toll on local businesses. After being cooped up for portions of 2020 (lockdown) Mike and his son decided to get out and explore, helping spread the good word about the local area he loves so much. Often even doing gift card giveaways to support local. LovingStPete is now followed by over 48 thousand people on social media! The majority of posts are informative on fun parks, activities, day trips, great restaurants, and in general provide a comprehensive tour of the area!

Soon after receiving his bachelors in Management Information Systems, Mike developed and then operated a vacation rental advertising business for 10+ years as CEO/Owner. The business was eventually acquired by VRBO. Mike has earned the trust of many large clients over the years. Such as NFL, Wynn Resorts, Blue Cross Blue Shield, VISA, Genuine Parts Company (NAPA Auto Parts), AT&T, and other Fortune 500 companies.

When not spending time with his beautiful wife and energetic son, Mike enjoys boating and is also an avid tennis player. An interesting fact about Mike is that he grew up on an avocado farm with over 15 varieties, some of which you can find in our local Publix/Winn Dixie as his dad still farms the same farm at 87 years old!

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