Lifestyle & Human Interest

11-Year-Old Cousins Starting Their Own Business Receive Surprise Gift from Stranger


No one would say that starting a small business is for the faint-hearted. Eight out of every 10 businesses fail within the first year and a half, according to Forbes.

That’s why you have to admire the intestinal fortitude of entrepreneurs — particularly when they’re young. And thanks to one Facebook stranger, a pair of 11-year-old business owners got a little jump start on their way to success.

A pair of Pinellas County, Florida, preteens wanted to support themselves a bit more, according to WFTX-TV. The boys were named Alex and Andrew.

Their money-earning idea was one that boys have turned to for decades: They decided to start a lawn business.

Dubbed A & A Lawn Kings, it would help them earn a little dough over the summer months. However, they had no equipment whatsoever.

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One of the boys’ mothers, Matoyia Calip, wrote about their efforts to fund the business in a Facebook post.

“Today my son and his cousin have launched their neighborhood business of lawn mowing. I’m soooo super proud of these young kings. They raised $20 to go towards the lawn mower that we purchased for them.”

A picture showed the boys at the cash register of a big-box home improvement store, their heads bent over a pile of pennies as they counted them for a cashier.

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That focus and initiative caught the attention of a kind-hearted stranger. Rich Junior saw the post and felt inspired.

“I was intrigued,” he wrote on Facebook. “I liked their page and was instantly drawn and curious.”

Junior could have simply left an encouraging comment, tagged some friends and been done with the whole thing. But he decided to do more.

“I reached out to Matoyia Calip, the mom and aunt who set the page up, and asked if they had a trimmer. They didn’t,” he said.

“So I worked with a friend and decided it was time to help these young men and their business.”

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Through Calip, he arranged a meeting with the two boys.

A video showed him giving the enthusiastic boys equipment they would need for business success.

“When I was 13 living in California, I purchased a newspaper route and delivered newspapers seven days a week on a bike or skateboard on the steep hills of San Pedro, Ca. I told them the lessons of responsibility, hard work, and earning your own money were some of the most important lessons I could learn in my young life, and I have never forgot those lessons,” he said.

“They listened intently, interested, and the best part of the day … they both hugged me at the same time! My heart truly melted, and I couldn’t be happier at this point on the impact made for these young men.”

Junior says he plans to remain in contact with Alex and Andres.

“I want to continue to work with these young men and help them grow, advertise and continue to learn business, so they can develop the needed necessities to survive in this world,” he said.

“INVEST IN OUR YOUTH!!! It doesn’t take a lot, it truly just takes a heart and a vision. Remember they are always watching what we do, so guide them, teach them, and support them when you can.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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