KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Lindsey Heath has always been a positive person. So when the Raymore, Missouri, woman created an account on the social media platform TikTok in-between jobs in 2020, she wanted it to be as positive as possible.
But she had positively no idea she would go viral.
“It got bigger from there, which is awesome,” Heath said. "It’s been nothing but great news.”
Heath now works as an apprentice for the Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 15 where she is assigned to help build the new Kansas City International single-terminal airport.
The mother saw a video on TikTok from another mom asking people to cheer up her 6-year-old daughter who was upset about getting glasses. Heath wears safety glasses every day on her job site and decided to film a quick video encouraging 6-year-old Sawyer.
“I don’t want to see a baby sad, that just breaks me. So I ended up ‘dueting’ [replying to] the video and wanted to encourage her like, ‘I’m out here doing things, don’t let anything hold you back,’ ” Heath explained.
Her TikTok video shows her on the job site, wearing glasses, pointing out everyone else is wearing glasses.
In less than one month, it has nearly 10 million views (some of which are generated by the fact Heath has a political sticker on her hardhat).
Sawyer and her mom were among those 10 million viewers.
“Sawyer and I watched it a bunch of times,” admitted Sawyer’s mother, Jocelyn Turrell who video chatted with 41 Action News from her home in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
Turrell said Sawyer plays soccer, hockey and baseball. She was afraid she wouldn’t be able to play sports because of her glasses. So Turrell asked TikTok users to show her all the things they do with glasses.
“We had people in the Army, like active duty, police officers, firemen, nurses, doctors, everybody and their dog showed me what they can do with glasses and it was just amazing; literally someone did a video with their dog,” Turrell said of the positive feedback her original video received.
She admitted Heath’s post stood out because Turrell used to work in oil fields operating heavy equipment with her own safety glasses.
Turrell and Heath have messaged one another back and forth.
“You can see that she is truly compassionate about the needs of others, which, as we all know, we need those people in the world, and they are the ones that keep the world spinning,” Turrell said of Heath.
Back on the KCI job site, Heath uses her TikTok account to promote women getting into skilled labor. She is the only female member of the bricklayers union working at KCI.
Heath often posts videos of the work she and others do at the site, plus answers questions.
“It’s intimidating,” Heath admitted. “When you think construction worker, you think big, strong, giant man, but there are a lot of brains that come into that, there’s a lot of communication that needs to happen. I feel like there are a lot of different aspects every single person is able to bring to our crew.”
Her foreman said having a woman in the male-dominated construction industry adds perspective and helps break the mold. He said Heath has what it takes to be a forewoman herself.
“It’s her demeanor, her ability to pay attention and take something from what I’m trying to teach her,” Don Moore explained. “The biggest job for a foreman is to make sure everyone goes home safe.”
Heath comes from a family of skilled workers. Her father installed drywall at the original KCI Airport.
The Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers (BAC) Local 15 union is hiring more apprentices like Heath. The “earn while you learn” model means apprentices collect a paycheck while training in the classroom and on the job.
“The main thing is you don’t have to have a skill set, we’ll teach you the trade,” union field representative Dustin Himes explained. “I think it’s just a willingness to learn and a willingness to show up at work and go to work every day.”
The BAC Local 15 includes bricklayers, tile layers, stonemasons, marble masons and more. For information on the apprenticeship program, visit the union’s website or call 816-595-4135.
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