The day Sergio Romero died, he gave away the money his father had given him for a bus pass. When his father asked him what he did with it, Romero said he gave it to someone who needed it more, according to Nancy Earle, executive director of Jasmine’s Alternative Music School.
“His father told him, ‘But son, he might use it to buy drugs or alcohol,’” Earle said. “Dad, I just looked deep in his eyes and he told me he was going to buy food,” Romero replied.
“He just had a heart of gold,” Earle said. “He was a giver. He was a special boy.”
Romero, a 15-year-old San Marcos High School sophomore, was leaving JAMS when he was struck by a truck and killed while crossing Milpas Street the night of Oct. 7. He was excited for his debut show at the California Avocado Festival the next day.
“When he died, he was leaving JAMS, he was doing what he loved and he was happy. How many people can really say that?” Earle said. “The passion for the music he had was amazing.”
Several youth bands played in honor of Romero at SOhO Restaurant & Music Club on Wednesday night. All proceeds went to the Sergio Romero Scholarship Fund, established to raise money for music teachers and instruments at JAMS.
It’s what Romero would have wanted, said his friend Josh Ford, who spent many nights at JAMS with Romero and Nick Vargas.
“We actually talked about it about a month ago, if something like this were ever to happen we’re not just going to stay behind and give up,” Ford said. “He’s never the person who wants attention. He doesn’t want the whole world worrying about him, but I’m sure he would want us to continue playing music and do what we do best because that’s what he loved.”
He said no one looked at life with the optimism and selflessness that Romero did.
“He taught me to value things in life we don’t even notice, what we take for granted,” Ford said. “It’s just the kind of person he was.”
Vargas and Romero met in seventh grade, sharing a passion for classic rock and heavy metal music. Vargas said Romero was never the one to follow any trends and wasn’t afraid to be himself.
“If you really want to do something for Sergio other than go to his funeral or post on Facebook that you miss him, why don’t you really just do something for Sergio and be yourself,” he said. “That’s something he would really want.”
Vargas said he still laughs at Romero’s jokes and his dry and sarcastic sense of humor. He said it’s almost like he’s still here.
“Whatever situation he was in, he was never upset and always found something to look good toward,” Ford said. “He was a really good kid. There’s no one I could compare him to.”
Romero had planned to go to a university to study music and eventually go to Mexico to join his uncle’s music conservatory, Vargas said. His friends said he would’ve been a rock star.
“His father told me, ‘Nancy, every time he left JAMS he was happy,’” Earle said. “‘When I would pick him up it was guaranteed that he was smiling and happy.’”