When Antonio Gwynn Jr. saw the damage from protests in his hometown of Buffalo, New York, he grabbed a broom, bought some trash bags and started cleaning the streets by himself.
He started at 2 a.m. on Monday and did not stop cleaning for the next 10 hours. When an organized group of neighbors arrived later that morning to start clearing the damage, they found that Gwynn had already done most of the work.
Gwynn is an 18-year-old high school senior. He told CNN that he saw on the local news that Bailey Avenue in Buffalo was covered in glass and garbage, and he knew people needed to use that street to get to work in the morning.
When word spread of how Gwynn single-handedly took action, his community responded.
Matt Block saw Gwynn’s story on the news and decided to give him his prized 2004 red Mustang convertible. Block, 27, told CNN the car is one he wanted since he was a child, but these days he is only using it occasionally. He saw Gwynn ask for some car buying advice on Facebook, and Matt decided to offer up his sports car.
It turns out that gift has more meaning than Block ever imagined. Gwynn’s mother, who passed away in 2018, also drove a red Mustang. When he realized the coincidence, Gwynn says that he was so shocked he “didn’t have any words,” and Block says it gave him “goosebumps.”
Local businessman Bob Briceland learned of Block’s gift, and he decided to extend a year of free auto insurance coverage through his 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 told CNN affiliate WKBW.
After high school, Gwynn had planned to go to trade school while saving up to go to college. Upon hearing Gwynn’s story, Medaille College in Buffalo offered him a full scholarship where he plans to study business starting this fall. One of his many career goals is to open a cleaning business.
This is the first time Gwynn received this type of recognition for his good deeds, but this is not the first time he stepped up to help others. He is a member of Kappa Phi where he enjoys doing community service, and he helps out at churches.
Gwynn is thankful for the community response, saying, “I appreciate everything everyone is doing for me.”