“Feeding the homeless is the highlight of my life!”
We all want to teach our kids to be generous and kind to others. Give to those less fortunate, always lend a hand when able, and to mind your manners.
They say it’s best to start while they’re young and that’s exactly what one father did with his 4-year-old son, Austin.
TJ Perine of Birmingham, Alabama does his best to instill compassion into his young son. But it was Austin who took it upon himself to go even further.
It all began while watching a tv show where the mother panda leaves her cubs behind. This didn’t sit right with Austin who didn’t comprehend the situation entirely.
TJ explained to Austin that the baby pandas would now be homeless.
“What’s homeless?” Austin asked.
“It’s when you don’t have a home and sometimes you don’t have mom or dad around,” TJ answered.
Austin wanted to know one other thing:
“Are people homeless?”
The sad truth resonated with the young boy. To help Austin understand the extent of what it meant, his father took him to a homeless shelter in the city.
There was something else bothering Austin as he met the people of the shelter. They must be hungry.
Austin asked his father if they could feed the homeless.
“I didn’t expect to feed homeless people that day. But when a 4-year-old asks you, what can you say?” TJ admitted.
From that day forward, Austin and TJ began their mission to feed the homeless every week.
The father and son duo stop by a Burger King and order chicken sandwiches and pick up some cold drinks. Then, they hit the streets and give out the items to those in need — to homeless people.
As their mission evolved, Austin evolved along with it. He already had the heart of a superhero, now he just needed the outfit and a name.
He settled on the moniker President Austin because that’s his idea of what a president does; help those in need.
Donned in a red satin cape and a blue shirt with the phrase, “Show Love” on the front, Austin isn’t difficult to miss. It’s always nice to be able to recognize the local superhero.
Everytime Austin hands out a sandwich and a drink, he gives one bit of advice, “Don’t forget to show love.”
Members of the community know Austin and his catchphrase all too well. They light up when he and his father come around.
“It warms my heart to see him,” one woman said.
Instead of keeping the money that he would receive for doing chores, he asked his parents if they would use it to purchase food and drinks for his weekly mission.
When Burger King caught wind of the local caped hero, they decided to give him a helping hand. A $1,000 hand to be exact.
The company gave Austin a monthly allowance of $1,000 for a year to help him with his mission.
Even Birmingham’s mayor, Randall Woodfin, took notice calling him “the city’s ambassador.”
“It’s one of our younger generation that gets it and understands the importance of helping others. And it’s one that we all want to cherish and make of importance which is showing love.”
Austin has dedicated his childhood to helping others. When his father said, “When I was a 4-year-old, I didn’t care about helping people.”
“I did!” Austin responded, full of enthusiasm.
Austin reminds us that life really isn’t that difficult.
“It’s just the right thing to do,” he says.
It really is that simple.
Check out the video below to see Austin in action!
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