Teen becomes youngest CASH FOR KINDNESS recipient
Elijah Rivera isn't your typical landscaper.
"It's just inspiring,” Rey Riojas said about the teen’s work. “It's moving."
That's because Rivera is a budding lawn care expert who chooses to his work-- for free!
"You can tell from his face that he's doing it out of love," Riojas said.
Rivera, who’s a sophomore at Taft High School, started “Lawns 4 Love” over the summer after a challenge from his father.
“He gave me sort of a challenge do something that we can do all year to help people,” Rivera explained.
His business focuses on clients who are in need.
“It's already really expensive,” Rivera said about lawn care services. “And for elderly, veterans and disabled, I just want to give back because no one really recognizes them anymore."
His happy customers often pose for pictures after the job gets done.
Rivera then posts them on his Lawns 4 Love Facebook page to drum up even more business.
One photo shows him posing with an elderly customer who paid him with an ice cream sandwich.
“It's nice to be able to do stuff,” Rivera said. “And when they ask ‘what's the price’ and you tell them ‘it's for free,’ it's a surprise."
Riojas thinks he deserves a little more than ice cream.
“This young man, who could be on his days off, relaxing at home, hanging out with his friends, but he's actually out there working and making a positive outlook on the community," he told Fox San Antonio’s Ryan Wolf.
Riojas went to school with Rivera’s father and learned about Lawns 4 Love online.
“Everyone is really just in for themselves, and you really don't hear about that kind of kindness anymore," he explained.
Riojas secretly nominated Rivera for the CASH FOR KINDNESS prize.
Wolf had him set up a fake lawn care appointment pretending to be a vet in need.
“Are you Lawns 4 Love?” Riojas asked when Rivera came to his home.
“Yes,” the teens said. “A pleasure to meet you."
Little did Rivera know, Fox San Antonio was watching the initial encounter from behind a truck in Riojas’ driveway.
“Do you know why you're here?” Riojas asked the boy.
“To do your yard?" Rivera responded with a puzzle look on his face.
That's when Wolf sprang out from behind the vehicle to share news of his surprise.
“We have a program called CASH FOR KINDNESS,” Wolf told him. “Can you put out your hand right now?”
“I've seen this on TV before!” Rivera said with a smile.
“Did you ever think that you'd be a recipient?” Wolf asked.
“No,” he said. “This is crazy!"
Wolf handed him $400 in cash on behalf of Fox San Antonio.
“This is crazy!” he repeated with a big smile. “It's like, really awesome, but this is something that everyone should do, especially for the elderly, disabled and veterans."
Two weeks shy of his 16th birthday, Rivera became one of the youngest CASH FOR KINDNESS recipients since the weekly program launched one year ago.
Click here to nominate someone for the CASH FOR KINDNESS prize