Editor at Large
October 30, 2015
His name is John Joyce. The 83-year-old man from St. Petersburg, Fla., mows lawns to earn some extra cash after retirement. Only his 1995 Ford F150 pickup broke around a month ago, and without the money to repair it, Joyce has been pushing his lawnmower over 2.5 miles to work ever since.
After learning of the one hour walk the elderly man was taking to their house, Robert and Nikki Horton knew they needed to help. They set up a Go Fund me page, raising $13,000 in just two weeks—enough to buy Joyce a V-8-powered 2004 Nissan Titan, cover his insurance, supply some gas and even throw in some newer lawn equipment.
“I just couldn’t bear to see you showing up at my house and pushing that lawnmower and not having a vehicle, and I didn’t think you were going to have the means to get one,” Robert told Joyce in a video for WTSP’s 10 News.
Beyond the need for extra money, the question was asked as to why the 83-year-old chose to push his lawnmower such a vast distance to keep up with his shifts: “It helps keep me going,” he says. The video below from two weeks ago tells Joyce’s story prior to the Horton’s setting up the fundraiser:
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After the Tampa Bay/St. Pete community learned of Joyce’s story, donators offered to help. The Hortons, who had been away from home for a while, were shocked at the outpouring of support upon their return. By the time the elderly man was ready to claim the keys to his Titan SE King Cab pickup truck a short while later, the Horton’s couldn’t contain their tears. Joyce climbed aboard his new ride, equally as choked up: “I feel like a millionaire,” he said, repeatedly.
According to one of Joyce’s family members, he’s not always been blessed with good things in life. So this moment—the compassion of one family and indeed an entire community—she said, is very special.
“I can’t think of anybody who deserves it more than him,” said Nikki Horton, who’s idea it was to set up the Go Fund me page.
As Joyce fired up his new truck for the first time, one reporter asked him: “You ready to mow some lawns?”
“Yes, Sir,” he replied.