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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Teen Survives Getting Hit by Tornado on His Way Home from Job Interview, Gets Job and a New Truck

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When Riley Leon of Texas set out for a job interview at a local fast food restaurant on March 21, his mother warned him against it.

The weather was ready to turn at any moment, and there were all sorts of dangerous weather warnings, including the chance of thunderstorms, large hail and tornadoes.

Leon, 16, made it to the interview and was headed home when his mother’s warning became reality. He was driving through Elgin when a tornado crossed directly into his path and picked up his red Chevy Silverado before he could pull an about-face.

An oncoming driver who narrowly missed the twister themselves caught the whole thing on video as the truck was spun onto its side for a few seconds before being picked up again and set upright on its wheels.

“On the video, it looks like I drove off, but in reality I didn’t,” he told KXAS-TV. “I landed in the center of the road, and I was just driving to get off the road.”

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The teen carefully eased his way out again and drove the rest of the way home, more than just a little shaken up. He’d only suffered minor scratches from the ordeal and didn’t tell his family what had happened because he didn’t want to worry them.

But the video that passer-by took went viral, and people began half-joking that it needed to be the next Chevy commercial.

When his parents saw the video, they knew immediately it was of their son.

People were surprised to learn that the driver of the truck was not an adult, as many had assumed, but a 16-year-old.

“I give thanks to God that he protected him all this time,” his mother said, according to an interview with Fox News.

Leon was hoping the video would seal the deal after the job interview, and according to KXAS-TV, he did land the job — but he’s gotten so much more.

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Not only has the video of the incident gone viral, Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet of Fort Worth, Texas, decided to recognize the young man’s grit with a brand-new truck and a check for $15,000.

“Chevrolet, together with Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet of Fort Worth, TX, are donating a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT All Star Edition in Cherry Red to Riley Leon and his family after he survived a powerful tornado while driving in his Silverado,” the business shared on its Facebook page.

“We are thankful Riley is safe, commend his driving skills during a frightening situation, and our hearts are with other families in Texas that have been affected by these storms.

“To help aid the recovery efforts in Texas, Chevy Cares is donating $50,000 to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund. Due to the quick action of the team at Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet, the new truck will be presented to Riley and his family on Saturday, March 26, at the dealership.”

Riley is just thankful he came through the ordeal alive and said that next time he’d heed his mother’s warning and not go out in such bad weather.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking