Schoolboy on the cutting edge of good works
A 12-year-old schoolboy did not hesitate to take up the challenge to mow 50 lawns for free.
Now, after three and a half years and 50 lawns mowed, Aaron Lugo Jr said he hoped to start his own lawn care company.
Aaron added: “Before this challenge I didn’t usually mow a lot of lawns, but when I got into the swing of things, I looked at my work and thought ‘this is really good, I can do a lot more of these’.”
He admitted that his business plan was still in its early stages.
But Aaron said that he would offer affordable landscaping carried out by himself, his parents or “anyone else who would like to help”.
Aaron, a Clearwater Middle School pupil from St George’s, was speaking after he completed the 50 Yard Challenge on Monday, set up to encourage youngsters to to mow 50 lawns for single mothers, seniors, veterans or the disabled free of charge.
The campaign was started by Bermudian “lawnmower man” Rodney Smith, who won fame in the US for doing similar acts of kindness.
Mr Smith eventually started a charity, Raising Men Lawn Care Service, which asked children to follow in his footsteps.
Aaron said he saw the challenge as a good way to help around the island and accepted it in February, 2018, aged nine.
His mother appealed on social media for homeowners who needed help mowing their lawns and news of Aaron’s work also got around through word of mouth.
Aaron said he started by mowing three lawns in a single day – a feat he admitted left him “very tired”.
He added: “Usually I have a lot of energy in general, but I was worn out by the end of that day. I was shocked I even did that much.”
Aaron mowed 24 lawns in 2018 and even returned to some homeowners to mow their lawns again.
He said that people were “very thankful” for his assistance and that he was always thanked – sometimes with a snack and a drink or money for gas – after a hard day’s work.
Aaron added: “On some yards, which took about three and a half hours, I would be slowing down a lot, but when I finished I felt good about myself.”
Aaron said that he had to take a break in 2019 because of school work and transport problems.
He explained that his parents travelled on motorcycles and that he struggled to move his lawn-mowing equipment.
But he got around the problem by asking to borrow equipment from others near his job sites and carried on cutting.
Aaron added that the Covid-19 pandemic also affected his work.
He said: “It was really slow and I was thinking ‘oh my gosh, what am I going to do? Am I going to finish this, am I not going to finish this? How long is this going to take me?’
“There was a lot going through my head at the time.”
But Aaron insisted he had no plans to give up, despite the problems.
He said: “I just had to keep going and not give up. I thought ‘if I started this, I can’t just stop in the middle of it’.
“I kept having to motivate myself – I knew I had to help out, so I always thought ‘I have to do this, I have to do this’.”
Aaron said that he mowed 17 lawns this year to at last hit the target of 50.
He added that he cheered when he finished the final lawn, which belonged to a senior in his neighbourhood.
Aaron said: “When I finished it I was so excited. I was thinking ‘yes, this is the final lawn’ as I was mowing and when I was finished I was running around.”
Aaron appealed to other youngsters to take up the 50 Yard Challenge and to stay committed, even if it took longer than expected.
He said: “Never give up. It might take a long time to do, but once you finish it you’ll be happy that you did it.”
• To sign up for the challenge, visit https://weareraisingmen.com/