Jesse Berlin (middle), surrounded by his siblings, Jared and Nicole.
On Wednesday, John Berlin taped and posted an emotional plea to Facebook to let him see the "Look Back" video for his son, Jesse Berlin, who died two years earlier at the age of 22. Two days later, it currently has nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
"I'm still in shock, to be honest," Berlin, 46, of St. Louis, Missouri, told NBC News. "I'm just an average guy working a 40 hour week, trying to make a living. To get that kind of response ... honestly, I'm still trying to deal with it."
The one-minute "Look Back" videos have been a hit for Facebook. Commemorating the social network's 10-year anniversary, each montage highlights the user's most popular updates and photos, set to a dramatic soundtrack.
"Jesse was a funny guy. He loved God and he loved having a good time," Berlin said. "It was hard for me to find pictures of him that were serious, because he was being a goofball in every one."
Berlin, a former construction worker-turned-personal trainer, decided that he wanted Facebook to give the Look Back treatment to his son's profile.
"I started watching the videos from Jesse's friends, just so I could get a glimpse of Jesse," he said. "It made me really want to see his."
One problem: He didn't have Jesse's Facebook log-in information or access to his email. So he propped up his iPhone, recorded a message, posted it YouTube and asked his friends to share it.
"I was just thinking that sometimes people post videos and they go viral. What did I have to lose?" he said.
It worked. The video received shares on Facebook and Reddit, picked up by local and national news outlets and finally, Facebook got back to him. The social network said it would create Jesse's "Look Back" video.
"I wanted that little piece of him," Berlin said. "I'll take every bit of him now that he's gone."
First published February 7 2014, 10:43 AM