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Looking to earn some extra cash to buy candy, a group of cousins and brothers began mowing lawns in the small community of Maple Hills, Ohio. After police were unexpectedly called on the hard-working kids, the community has now stepped up to help the entrepreneurial collective buy new equipment and expand the scope of their business.
Reggie Fields, a 12-year-old black businessman whose fledgling landscaping enterprise is called Mr. Reggie's Lawn Cutting Service, was grooming his customer Lucille Holt's lawn on June 23, only to be interrupted by police. A white neighbor had apparently called the cops after Fields had unwittingly mowed a part of their lawn.
"They said I was cutting their grass. I didn't know it!" Reggie said to News 5, a Cleveland-based ABC affiliate. "I was like, that's a shame. I didn't know."
While police responded to the call, they didn't pursue any action against Reggie and his team. Holt broadcast some of her conversation with the cops on Facebook Live.
"I guess I have a line where part of it is not my yard. They called the police to tell the police that the kids was cutting their grass," Holt said in the video, which has since garnered over 500,000 views.
Although Reggie said he felt discouraged by the incident, an subsequent outpouring of support from social media has allowed him to expand his business. A GoFundMe page established to encourage Reggie has spurred more than $35,000 in donations.
"They're just so supportive, because they said no 12-year-old should ever have to go through that — period," Brandy Fields, Reggie's mother, told Buzzfeed. "He wants to do [this] all year round. He wants to rake leaves. He wants to snow-blow. He wants to do it all."
Holt has since thanked everyone for supporting her and Reggie.
"America has stepped up and showed me love from everywhere," Holt added to Buzzfeed.
But although Holt feels blessed by the kindness, she also now fears for her safety after hearing knocks on her windows at night. She has not found any assailants but worries all the publicity may bring negative attention as well.
"I feel like that now I'm not safe in my own home," Holt told Buzzfeed.
Reggie's situation is one in a series of recent, highly-publicized situations involving black Americans having police called on them over innocuous incidents. In April, two black men were arrested for loitering in a Philadelphia Starbucks, prompting nationwide outrage and causing the company to offer racial sensitivity training for all employees. In June, a woman in San Francisco called police on a young black child selling water, sparking conversations on social media.
[Photo: Screenshot via Facebook]