Jaylan Ford from Arlington, Texas, can be seen passionately jamming to songs by the side of the busy intersection on Cooper Street.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 16, 2021. It has since been updated.
To dance like no one is watching is to experience freedom like no other. Not many people can live a carefree life where they don't let the worries of the world get the better of them. But not only does Jaylan Ford from Arlington, Texas, embody this spirit he also helps cheer up those who have seen him in action. Ford has been making the rounds on the internet for being that guy who can be seen passionately jamming to songs by the side of the busy intersection on Cooper Street. He goes back there every single day to spread joy.
Arlington resident Jaylan Ford couldn't help himself from bobbing his head to music one day and soon he started dancing. https://t.co/6xFbHOfalc— The Shorthorn (@UTAShorthorn) June 15, 2021
Ford is 18-years-old and started dancing on the street last year. One day as he walked down the street with music blasting on his earphones he could not help himself and started grooving to the beat. He started dancing and felt really good. It left an impression on him, motivating him to actually show off his dance moves to others. “I didn't want [to dance] for everybody,” he told The Shorthorn. “I just wanted it to be for myself because it made me happy.” Over the past year, Ford has gained a lot of fans in Arlington as well as online where his videos have gone viral.
He leaves his home in the morning and can be seen by the street dancing and fist-pumping till it gets dark outside. Now that it's summer, he has more free time and starts his dance sessions as early as seven in the morning and goes on till at least eight in the evening. It's a welcome sight for many driving past Cooper Street to see a free spirit like Ford exuding so much positivity. Stephanie Girolamo is a resident who catches a glimpse of the dancing teen and it never fails to bring a smile to her face. It is a welcome break from her hectic life juggling between being a parent and teaching online classes at Bowie High School. “A little bit of his energy kind of reaches my heart,” she said of Ford.
Yureni Gutierrez, another Arlington resident sees Ford every day as she drives to work. “I was always happy to see him,” she said. It is people like Girolamo and Gutierrez that keep Ford going. He says their smiles and praises for him make him feel special. “[He] being out there, being like a one-man hype team for the town is just what we need and so heartening,” Girolamo said. She also worries about the young man who is gaining popularity and along with a lot of negative reactions as well. She noted there were a lot of violent incidents recently and Ford had to be protected at all costs as a source of positivity.
Ford does his best to overlook the negative reactions he gets. People give him the stink eye, gets honked at, or gets called names. “Like, I get tired of the same question, like ‘are you on drugs?’” he said about how his enthusiasm is often mistaken for being high. Despite all that he continues to do his best since this is only a minor consequence. Most people are still kind to him, which is all he cares about. “I think his positivity will always win over that negativity,” Gutierrez said. Other people continue to encourage the young man as well, in cash and kind. Other than the money he has also received water and gift cards from kind passersby.
“I feel like I'm free,” Ford said. “It feels free, it feels happy, for real it’s so good.” And what's on Ford's playlist? He listens to Lil Wayne, Rick Ross, and Gucci Mane and is also a big fan of Taylor Swift.