12-year-old boy’s random act of kindness to help disabled man warms hearts at Alliance

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Raymond Butler was cycling home from football practice one day in July when he suffered a flat tire, which may have been the fate of a once-in-a-lifetime friendship.

The seventh grader who attends Marlington Middle School had slowed down enough on Schubert Avenue NE in Alliance to notice someone in need and felt compelled to help.

Gary Barnes, whose right leg is amputated below the knee, was sitting in his mobility scooter and using his self-propelled lawnmower to mow part of his lawn.

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Gary Barnes on his mobility scooter on the porch of his house.

“I saw this man who had only one leg. He was trying to mow his lawn,” Raymond said. “I parked his driveway and offered to mow his lawn for free.”

Barnes was touched by the gesture, ordered a replacement bicycle inner tube from Amazon and struck up a conversation with the boy.

“He said, ‘I could mow your yard.’ I said, “Well that would be nice. How much would you charge me to mow my lawn?” And, he replied sheepishly and sheepishly, “Nothing, I would do it for free,” “Barnes said.


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Raymond and Gary are talking.

Sure enough, Raymond cut the grass, but Barnes insisted on paying him $ 10.

“It was just a general, random act of kindness that he bestowed on me,” Barnes said.

Barnes, who has nine grandchildren and three great-grandchildren, said Raymond now feels like another grandchild to him.

Raymond continues to come and help with yard and odd jobs, and the two go fishing twice a week.

The relationship has additional meaning for Barnes because he emphasizes the value of life. He has prostate cancer, which has spread to some of his bones.

“Right now I’m on chemotherapy so I’m coming back in six months for all the other scans,” he said. “I have so much knowledge to share. I feel like I need to share it with someone, but I feel like I’m running out of time.”

Barnes posted his experience with the boy on Facebook and received hundreds of positive reviews from the Alliance region community.

Raymond lives with his grandparents who don’t have a car, so he rides his bike for training – a round trip of about 10 miles.

Barnes also realized that Raymond could use new clothes for the school year, so he started a GoFundMe page, calling it “School clothes for Raymond”.

“In less than 24 hours, we were pushing $ 1,000,” Barnes said. The amount rose to over $ 1,500 on Friday night.

Raymond said he was grateful that his favor had been returned to him, but that he did not expect Barnes’ generosity.

“I go up to different classes and it gets more expensive for clothes,” he said. “It was nice.”

Barnes’ wife plans to take Raymond shopping on Monday and any extra money raised will be donated to help other children in need.

“Of course we all know it’s been said hundreds of times – it’ll make the world a better place if we’re all kind to each other,” Barnes said.

Raymond agreed and is delighted that his decision to stop and push a lawn mower forward results in a little movement to keep it going. He now has a message, which is wise beyond his years: “When you grow up, be kind to others and they will be kind in return.”


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Raymond Butler and Gary Barnes.

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