Rodney Smith Jr. is on a mission. The 29-year-old is touring the United States mowing the lawns of the elderly, veterans, disabled people and single mothers for free.
When he was little, Rodney Smith Jr. hated mowing the lawn. As an adult, he has given himself a mission: to mow the lawn of fifty people in each of the fifty states of the United States. And he wants to inspire a generation of young people to follow his example. So far he has more than reached his goal. He has toured the country 5 five times already and have mowed a countless number of lawns.
This is the story of a chore that has become a vocation. When he was little, Rodney Smith Jr. hated mowing the lawn. He found the work long and boring. Years later, however, this task occupies most of his time. And he does it for free.
The odyssey of the lawn mower
It all started when four years ago, in his hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, the young computer student meets an old man who was struggling to mow his lawn. He decided to stop to help him. Gradually, he began to help the elderly in his neighborhood by mowing their lawn. Taking pleasure in helping, the 29-year-old man then decided to set a goal: to mow the lawns of forty people in need before the winter of 2015. The goal quickly rose to 100. And then again, and again.
His good action led him to found an organization, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, an association to bring together people who, like him, sought to lend a hand to the most vulnerable and isolated, such as single mothers, women and men, veterans, the disabled or the elderly, mowing their lawns.
“I think that’s what I was supposed to do in life,” he told CNN. The good Samaritan now estimates that he has mowed more than 2,000 lawns.
In 2017, Rodney Smith Jr. launched a new challenge: to cross the country to continue his work in all the American States. A challenge he called “50 States 50 Lawns”. For two months, he went to each state with in the trunk of his car, a lawn mower and an electric brushcutter. And he mowed one or two lawns a day. Before each trip, the 29-year-old used social networks to announce his next destination and find someone who needed his services, thanks to the help of his subscribers.
Hi Maryland. I’m going to mow in Baltimore this morning. If you know someone who is old, disabled, a single mother or a veteran who needs their lawn mowed, tell me. It’s free.
In the state he met Joseph Gruzinski, 85, a veteran of the Korean War. “He takes the time to do good things for seniors and veterans, when most people do not care about us,” said the retired sergeant to the Washington Post. His arrival made me very happy. After the grass, he even cut the flowers and cleaned my flowerbeds. “
An initiative that has become a movement
Beyond his own good deeds, Rodney Smith Jr. now seeks to inspire a generation of girls and boys to follow his example. That’s why the Forrest Gump of Fresh Grass now encourages kids to also mow fifty lawns in their neighborhoods with the 50 yard challenge, in the US as in Canada or Bermuda, his home country . “I want kids to understand that no matter how old they are, they can make a difference, whether it’s with a lawn mower or not. “