Residents of St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood rallied Friday night to honor a man with a beaming smile whom they had never met.
They picked yellow flowers from their gardens to place at his memorial, cooked comfort food to feed mourners and shut down Charles Avenue.
And they did it all for Kenneth Foster, a 48-year-old father of six, grandfather of seven, a team player, Chicago native and a lover of R&B music.
Because they had to, they said.
Last weekend, Foster was killed during a horrific accident when a car plowed into the Metro Transit bus on which he was a passenger.
When the accident took place on Charles Avenue, the neighbors all left their houses to help out.
On a sunny, mild evening, the Frogtown neighbors, Foster's family, friends and co-workers came together again at Foster's memorial site on their street.
Charles Avenue resident Judy Caravalho and her neighbor Kiki Usuda said after the accident they knew they needed to find a way to honor Foster. They stayed up until 3 a.m. that night planning one. The two organized Friday's vigil and memorial.
Foster's daughter, Kenyatta Foster, said his family was deeply touched by the gesture.
"You have shown my dad so much love, and you did not even know him," she said to those gathered. As family members looked on, she and Caravalho shared a tearful embrace.
The Rev. Mark Moriarty of nearby St. Agnes Catholic Church said a prayer for Foster and for another man who was critically injured in the crash.
Among the candles, flowers and posters at the memorial site, glass from the accident remained scattered in the grass nearby. Sgt. Amber Larson, who was one of the first officers on the accident scene, laid flowers onto Foster's growing memorial.
Authorities described the crash that killed Foster and left a gaping hole through the bus as "surreal and horrific." Tyler Randall Bjelland, 26, of Minneapolis, was driving the white sedan that sliced through the bus. Authorities say Bjelland was fleeing the scene of a minor accident when he ran a stop sign, hit a median and went airborne, then cut through the northbound bus at speeds of up 70 miles per hour.
Bjelland was charged with felony criminal vehicular homicide and criminal vehicular operation on Monday in Ramsey County District Court.
Members of Foster's team at Nidec Corp., where he worked, also came Friday to pay their respects. The team at the motor manufacturing company would finish every one of their meetings with a huddle. At the end of a huddle, they would stick their hands in a circle and say, "One, two, three, teamwork," to which Foster would respond with "makes the dreams work."
Gregory Fields, also known as DJ G, played "Lifetime" by Maxwell to honor his longtime friend on Friday. Fields said he and Foster lived parallel lives.
"We had the same struggles and we overcame those same struggles," he said.
Fields said it was heartbreaking to see Foster overcome his trials to meet such a horrible end.
A few days ago, Fields was placing some CDs at Foster's memorial site when Caravalho approached him to ask about playing his music Friday.
As the vigil went on late into the night Friday, a sign left at the memorial offered mourners a glimpse of the man they had gathered to honor: "He always had a big smile on his face whenever he entered a room. He had such a big heart and love for everyone."