We’re adults and don’t believe in superheroes anymore. We know that Batman and Tony Stark don’t exist, but could there be modern heroes posing as ordinary people possessing the power of kindness? It doesn’t cost anything and costs everything all at the same time.
Today, 5 Fun Facts has found a story about one of these people. This guy doesn’t stop earthquakes or plug the muzzles of volcanos, he just mows lawns for free!
The first chapter
It started on July 25, 2015, when Rodney Smith Jr. got this simple idea in his head. He saw an old man struggling to mow the lawn, got out of his car and completed the work. Then he thought, why not help other people too? Not just the elderly, but all people who could use the help. He started mowing lawns for free whenever he had free time.
But every hero needs a partner — or even a few — so Rodney started incorporating kids into his mission. In Huntsville, Alabama, his native city, he was able to draw in about 60 children. But the story doesn’t stop here.
The 50 yards challenge
In April of 2016, Smith started to think about how he could spread his idea all over America. He has come up with the popular idea of challenging others through social media. This is when his simple act of kindness went viral.
What he did was challenge kids to mow 50 lawns for people in need. Anyone could join the challenge by posting a photo of themselves holding a sign says that said, “challenge accepted” and then they’d get to work!
As all superhero do, Raising Men Lawn Care Service got a special uniform. Once you mow 10 lawns, you get an orange shirt, 20 lawns — a green shirt, 30 lawns — a blue shirt, 40 lawns — a red shirt, and 50 lawns earn you a black shirt.
After the new member mows their 50th lawn, the team of Raising Men Lawn Care Service comes to visit and presents a new mower to the newcomer.
Raising the stakes
If you stay in one place for too long you’ll run out of lawns to mow sooner or later. Alabama was just the beginning for Rodney Smith. He decided to add another 50 to his challenge and make it “50 yards in 50 states”.
He embarked on the journey last summer. Smith spent 1 month and 9 days visiting all 50 states. He drove to 48 of them and took a plane to Hawaii and Alaska. This summer he decided to make it again, but this time he’ll spend more time in schools and organizations.
Making an impact
Children see — children do. This is probably the most important rule that parents should remember. Only by our example, can we teach little ones to be kind and giving individuals. It works even better when not only parents help, but when strangers perform acts of kindness as well.
“It was kind of a shocking experience for my children, and it’s hard to explain, but they really haven’t seen a random person do a random act of kindness,” said single mother Alanna Cavett from Mississippi after Smith had visited her and her children.
The army is growing.
In July of 2018, the number of children taking part in the 50 Yard Challenge grew to 166. As Rodney counted on his twitter account — 166 kids x 50 lawns each = 8,300 lawns. For comparison, it was just 84 kids in April. So, the army of kindness and caring is rapidly growing!
Mowing the world
What’s next, you ask? Well, Smith says that next is The 7 Continents 7 Lawns Challange. What he’s going to do is visit all 7 continents next year, talk to kids out there about community service, mowing safety and try to get as many kids involved with The 50 Lawns Challange as possible.
He realizes that in some places he’ll most likely be shoveling snow or cleaning off sand, but that doesn’t stop him. In the end, it is not about lawns, it’s about helping others.
Would you like to have your children participate in the 50 lawns challenge? What other stories about real superheroes do you know? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!