Lifestyle & Human Interest

Delta Flies Man to Alaska and Hawaii for Free So He Can Mow Veterans' Lawns in All 50 States


There are all sorts of little things we can do every day to make the lives of the people around us just a bit more enjoyable. These acts of kindness don’t have to be grand or expensive and are only limited by your imagination.

Opening a door is a common small act of kindness, as is raking someone’s leaves or mowing their lawn. If you’re already out doing your own yard work, it’s not that difficult to extend your efforts to the elderly neighbor next door.

While one 29-year-old man from Alabama started off that way, his acts of kindness have grown, and now he’s made the news because of his unusual goal to mow lawns of veterans in all 50 states.

It all started around five years ago when Rodney Smith Jr. noticed an elderly gentleman struggling to mow his lawn. Smith stepped in to help and realized he could do even more.

“I remember asking God to use me as his vessel,” he told “Good Morning America.”

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That spearheaded his “50 Lawn Challenge,” and soon he was traveling to mow lawns. At first, he mowed lawns for a variety of deserving individuals, but this year he focused on one particular group.

“Normally when I do it, it’s for the elderly, disabled, single mothers and veterans,” he told KOCO-TV. “But this time in particular, it’s just for the veterans.”

Smith has mown hundreds of lawns by now, as this is his fifth year completing a “50 Lawn Challenge.” This year, he managed to catch the eye of Delta Air Lines, who offered him a sweet deal to help him reach his goal.

Since Alaska and Hawaii are a little farther away than the other states, Delta flew Smith to both — at no cost to Smith.

“Off to Anchorage,Alaska to mow for our veterans there!” Smith tweeted on June 10. “I got a chance to meet our pilots, Mr. Johnson & Mr. Kennedy . Mr. Johnson is a Air Force veteran himself. Thank you for your service . Thank you Delta for the first class treatment!”

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Delta tweeted back, expressing their thanks for his dedication and service.

“Glad to have you aboard!” they wrote. “A one-of-a-kind person like yourself deserves the first class treatment. We’re honored to help you complete the 50-state journey and thank you for recognizing our veterans in this incredible way.”

Smith hopes to inspire others to reach out in their communities, and hundreds of kids have already answered the call.

“We have boys and girls taking part in the program,” Smith told “GMA.” “We are trying to encourage boys and girls to get out there and make a difference, one lawn at a time.”

“I’ve come across so many veterans that are struggling to get their lawn mowed. If they served for our country, we should step up for them.”

“This is the least we can do,” he concluded. “This is the last thing they need to worry about.”

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