(TMU) – As protests have swept across the United States in the aftermath of the brutal killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police, cities both large and small have had to pick up the pieces left behind after the unrest has subsided.
But teenager Antonio Gwynn Jr. of Buffalo, New York, wasn’t about to wait for a community appeal to start cleaning up the debris left behind by the raging battles between residents and police. Instead, he took it upon himself to grab a broom and some trash bags and start cleaning up the streets on his own.
And for his selfless acts, he’s been handsomely rewarded with a full scholarship and a gorgeous red convertible car.
Gwynn, an 18-year-old high school student, told CNN that when he saw that Bailey Avenue suffered damage and was strewn with glass and debris following violent clashes last Sunday between Buffalo police and local residents, his first concern was for the workers he knew would need the street to get to work the next morning.
So he grabbed his broom and started his volunteer endeavor at 2 a.m., sweeping and cleaning the streets by himself for the next 10 hours. When the neighbors arrived to clean up the street that morning, they immediately noticed that Gwynn had already performed the task.
Matt Block, 27, noticed Gwynn’s story in the local. After doing a little bit of research, he saw that Gwynn had been asking around on Facebook for some advice on buying a new car. So Block decided to just give the teen his red 2004 Ford Mustang convertible.
“I couldn’t come to grips with selling it and this was a good way for me to get rid of it and know someone that gets it is going to appreciate it,” Block told WKBW.
Cannot get enough of this story! #HometownPride
18-yr-old Antonio Gwynn started at 2am and spent hours on his own cleaning up his street after riots broke out the night before.
Days later, he was awarded a FULL college scholarship from @MedailleCollege and this new car.
— Kate Glaser (@KateGIaser) June 7, 2020
The gift was auspicious, as Gwynn’s late mother who passed away in 2018 also drove a red Mustang.
“The car he sent me a picture of was the same exact car that my mom first got me. It’s the same color, same everything,” said Gwynn.
Gwynn was so shocked that “he didn’t have words” – and Block, too, said that the coincidence gave him “goosebumps.”
A local businessman, Bob Briceland, soon learned about Block’s gift and decided to also give a gift of his own – a year of free auto insurance provided by his very own insurance agency.
“I just felt compelled to help him out. We just need to get together our whole city and show people how there’s so many good people here,” Briceland said.
Gwynn, a high school senior, had been planning to attend a trade school while he saved up for college. However, upon learning about Gwynn’s selfless deeds, local Medaille College extended a full ride scholarship to the good Samaritan.
Upon hearing the news, Gwynn says he “literally stopped, pulled over, and started crying. So did my great aunt. My little cousin did also.”
Gwynn plans to study business this fall as well as mechanics on the side. After completing his studies, he hopes to start his own cleaning business.
“I always wanted to be someone to help everyone with their car problems. This is a great opportunity I have right in front of me,” he said.
While this may be the first time Gwynn has received recognition on this scale for his altruistic acts, he is a regular volunteer at his local church and also does community service through Kappa Phi.
Typos, corrections and/or news tips? Email us at Contact@TheMindUnleashed.com