Mowing the lawn under 80-degree December weather would seem like a breeze. Not so fast. What may look like a simple chore for Rene Ayala is much more.
“I like to face adversity and hit it head on,” he said. “You're not going to tell me I can't do it.”
The 45-year-old Weslaco resident is often seen on his 10-acre property pulling, rather than pushing, a lawnmower.
It's not the usual way to get around a weedy lot, but it's been Ayala's only option.
“I used to have a riding lawnmower and it broke down,” he said.
Unemployed and strapped for cash, Ayala resorted to attach a power mower to his power wheelchair. That's when his nephew recorded a video on his cell phone and later posted it on Facebook.
“I'm trying to make fun of me because a lot of people think that I don't do anything,” said Ayala.
The video made its rounds on the internet and prompted a San Antonio man to start a Go Fund Me account titled “Mower4Rene” to buy him a new riding mower.
“I can't thank these people enough for what they did,” said Ayala graciously.
Ayala said he's never asked strangers for help. Even after losing his limbs and suffering severe burns in an apartment fire 22 years ago.
“I just took it as '(expletive) happens' you know? That's the way I saw it.”
Once a local star athlete in the early 90's with dreams of going pro, Ayala would find renewed resolve and happiness with his new teammates: his family.
“God gave me the biggest blessing I could ever ask for,” he said. The Ayala name is still going on. You know, it doesn't stop with me.”
When not working on his property, Ayala is volunteering at his children's sports games. Reminding us all we can do better.