Superheroes come in many different shapes and sizes. One thing they all have in common though is that they are strong and confident, and would always do the right thing in a desperate situation, if they were real.
However, there is one real life superhero, somewhere in Alabama, and even though he’s only 4 years old he’s making a huge difference to countless people’s lives…
He might only be 4 years old but little Austin has achieved more during his short life than many people do in a lifetime. Not only that, but Austin is also a superhero; a real life one. Moreover, the little boy brings happiness and joy to people in his city on a weekly basis, and this special child is only going from strength to strength.
As you can see from the pictures, Austin is cute by any standard. He’s also extremely polite and well-rounded; not to mention very mature for his age. Then again, Austin is still a kid and he loves cartoons and especially superheroes. In fact, he really thinks he is one, and he has the costume to prove it. In many ways he really is…
Austin’s parents think he was born to be a special child but they also note that his behaviour has a lot to do with his older brother Taylor who’s autistic. Due to his condition Austin has almost been forced into maturity at a young age, but not in a bad way. Austin and Taylor are very close and always have been in their own very special way.
“Austin is just a compassionate kid,” said Austin’s dad proudly, “He just wants to see everybody happy.” But that compassion is rooted in the nurturing of his older brother who has a mental age similar to his, “He’s always been a nurturer of his brother,” he said, “He’s kind of like a little dad to him.”…
It was a normal enough afternoon in March when little Austin was watching TV with his mother at home. But then, something on the television sparked an emotional response in Austin, which would be a pre-cursor for his heroic actions later. No one knew it at the time but this kid was about to do something special.
“Austin and I were watching an animal show and there was a mother panda that was leaving her cubs,” his mother recalls, “Austin began to get concerned, and I told him that the panda would be homeless.” But Austin didn’t know the meaning of the word homeless, until his dad explained what it meant. Austin felt bad for the baby panda and welled up, almost bursting into tears…
It may have been 95 degrees in Birmingham but that didn’t stop Austin and his dad from bringing support and happiness to those in his community who needed it most. Clad in his red Superman cape, Austin is often at the local homeless shelter, handing out food and smiles to people who are down and out.
Firehouse Ministries is a red brick building where the homeless are given food. Along with his dad TJ, Austin drops off meals to the needy. “It’s because of you that I want to be a better person,” a homeless man said to Austin, “You’re showing love, everywhere you go, right?” to which Austin replied, “I am.”…
Austin always shows up to Firehouse in his work clothes. They include: A T-shirt, sneakers, and shorts – all in blue, with a red cape hanging behind him. He even has a hashtag emblazoned in big red letters on his chest which aptly says, “#ShowLove.”
We’ll let Austin explain what this hashtag is all about in his own words, “Show love means, you care about someone no matter what they look like,” he said. At the same time, Austin does love attention and is already able to command a crowd pretty well. He also has a special superhero name that he calls himself…
Not satisfied with Super Austin or any variation of that, the young toddler’s dad explained, “He likes being called a superhero. He’s his own entity, ‘President Austin.’ He doesn’t like being called Superman.” Clearly Austin is strong-willed as well as kind, and feels he needs his own special superhero name. Although we don’t think Mr Trump will be too concerned about it.
When Austin was asked what the pillars of President Austin’s agenda were, he said, “I would chase the bad guys out of school and feed the homeless.” Indeed, Austin has come a long way since he watched superheroes on TV and dressed up at home. But it was his first trip to the homeless shelter that really got things in motion for this superhero…
On the first day that TJ took his son to Firehouse, Austin asked his dad, “Can we feed them?” TJ said, “I didn’t expect to feed homeless people that day. But when a 4-year-old asks you, what can you say?” With that, TJ put Austin in the car and headed over to Burger King.
This story just gets better as TJ attempted to impress the importance of the value of money on his son. When Austin understood that chicken sandwiches weren’t so cheap, he offered to forgo his weekly allowance for a month in order to buy people food then and there. Again, TJ could not refuse the cuteness…
Austin’s actions did not go unnoticed; how could they? As soon as word spread that there was a new superhero in town, Austin found himself getting even more attention than he ever bargained for. He started appearing on local TV shows, featuring in news articles and became something of a celebrity on social media. But the best was yet to come.
As far as we’re aware, Burger King never gave anyone a monthly allowance, let alone a 4-year-old stranger, even if he was a superhero. However, in a smart move, Burger King are sponsoring Austin and giving him a $1,000 monthly allowance to feed the homeless. Austin is so well known, even the mayor of Birmingham knows about him…
To mayor Randall Woodfin’s mind Austin is the “city’s ambassador,” telling reporters that Austin’s story is one of hope, “It’s one of our younger generation that gets it and understands the importance of helping others. And it’s one that we all want to cherish and make of importance which is showing love,” he said, speaking proudly about Austin and his mission.
Being that Austin’s mission is to fill hungry stomachs and brighten up days, there’s little question that this little superhero has accomplished his mission, “It really brightens our day and warms our heart to see that little superhero cape come up the building and that sweet, sweet voice,” said Anne Rygiel Firehouse Ministries director…
Austin picked the right place to peddle his kindness as Firehouse serves more than 5,000 men, women and children with wholesome meals on a regular basis. Rygiel explained, “There’s a lot that we do with very little resources, so we rely heavily in the community,” and the thousand dollars a month from Burger King is a great help.
Austin’s dad explained that the attention they have received has them thinking big for the future, “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the country, and what we want to do is expand from more than just giving out sandwiches,” he said, adding that ideally he wants to build a facility to help the homeless, “Mental illness, drug abuse, addiction, and things like that. Austin and I want to build a facility and get some specialists in there that can actually help these people get back into the workforce.”