Brady Faroldi might not have been able to walk across the stage at his graduation from Queen’s Faculty of Education, but he left a lesson nonetheless, on how to leave a real impact in only 23 years.
When Faroldi passed away suddenly of natural causes on June 27, he had just completed his first six weeks of teacher’s college at Queen’s. According to his mother, Roberta Faroldi, her son had always been sure about his path in life.
“He knew he wanted to be a teacher from such a young age,” she said. “Parents I don’t even know have already messaged me about how much he influenced their children’s lives.”
She added that Brady had a unique ability, to “make anyone feel like his best friend.”
After the sudden passing of her son, Roberta told The Journal that she was overwhelmed with the outpouring of support — in the form of cards, emails and social media messages from friends and acquaintances Faroldi met throughout his 23 years of life. These included the families of the children he had encountered in his various teaching placements, who’s lives he had managed to touch deeply in such a short time.
Faroldi drew inspiration from the character of Mr. Feeny of the TV show Boy Meets World, whom he saw as a shining example of what a mentor should be. Faroldi even received a personalized video message from the actor who plays Mr. Feeny, William Daniels, after completing his undergraduate degree.
“So many little kids came to his wake and were telling me stories about ‘Mr. Faroldi,’” Roberta said. “This one little girl’s mother told me about how he had talked her daughter in to trying out for the talent show.”
Roberta told the story of how the little girl had walked up to Faroldi when he was doing a placement at a local middle school and told him she’d never try out for the talent show.
Without missing a beat, Faroldi turned around and replied, “you’re going to make that talent show and I’m going to be in the front row clapping you on!”
The little girl found faith in Faroldi’s mentorship and went to her audition. Her performance, as well as the entire talent show at the elementary school, was dedicated to Faroldi’s late memory.
Faroldi’s girlfriend, Danielle Robinson, remembers him as the person she loved from the very beginning and someone who loved her just the same.
“I met his parents on date number two, which was the day after date number one,” she recalled. “He met my family just a week later.”
The two continued to date for a year and a half. On Faroldi’s last day, Robinson was grateful that she was by his side.
“If you had asked him what he wanted his last day to be, that would have been it,” she said.
The pair spent the day watching Italy win a Euro Cup match and wandering through the flea market together — one of Faroldi’s favourite exploratory hobbies.
“We went on Kijiji and found me a pull cart for my golf bag. We ended up going to a pretty shady part of town and as I was about to get out he stopped me and said ‘No no, you wait here.’”
She laughed, recalling his chivalry. “I’ll go in for you,’ he told me. Brady wasn’t the most manly man but he went in anyway. [He] came back going ‘I smell like smoke!’” Robinson said jokingly, doing her best impression of the visibly-uncomfortable Faroldi.
He spent the rest of the ride home airing out his shirt through the car window. “I told him he was my hero,” she said. When they got home, Faroldi went downstairs to do some laundry while she set to work.
“I made fun of him for being the macho man while I was the housewife finishing the laundry,” she recalled. “And we both said ‘I love you.’”
Those were the last words Faroldi spoke.
Hours later, he had passed away by as of yet unknown natural causes.
“We still don’t know what happened,” Robinson said, “but most people have just said his heart was too big for this world.”
Looking back on their relationship, she noted with a laugh that the only thing they ever argued over was what to name their future son.
Robinson takes solace in the words Roberta had told her before — her son had only ever wanted two things, to go to Queen’s and to really find love.
The way they see it, despite his short life, he had both.
Faroldi’s friends and family insist that he would’ve wanted the Queen’s community to remember him for the traits he tried to personify every day, as opposed to the things he could have been.
In his final days, Faroldi had been planning a speech for a graduation ceremony of the local Holsgrove middle school, where he had been completing a placement. Passing his words along to The Journal, Roberta hopes they offer a final lesson from her son to those coming to Queen’s.
“Don’t be in too big a hurry to grow up. These are some of the greatest times in your life. Don’t rush past them. There are some great things coming and just as your loved ones are proud, each one of you should feel as proud of yourself.”
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