© Photo by Melissa Jenkins
A vandalized go-cart in Carbonear lead three young boys — Josh Griffin (middle), Anthony Griffin (second from right) and Andrew Green (right) — to a very selfless project. They restored the damaged cart and hand-delivered it back to it's five-year-old owner Ben Clarke (second from left) and his mother Jennifer.
A five-year-old boy wakes up early on a sunny Saturday morning anticipating climbing aboard his little red, blue and black go-cart.
The weather has been co-operating this weekend, which he hopes will hold up to get as much time on his four-wheeled vehicle before beginning school in a couple of weeks.
Much to the little boy’s surprise, the cart had been destroyed and thrown on the side of the road only a few metres from his doorstep. There were pieces missing and parts were dispersed everywhere. It could not be driven.
This is exactly what happened to Ben Clarke of Carbonear.
“The go-cart was nowhere to be found,” said Jennifer Clarke, Ben’s mother. “We looked along the road and found it destroyed. Ben was devastated.”
You can have it
Later that day, three boys were walking along Patrick Street right in front of the Clarke family’s house.
Eleven-year-old Anthony Griffin, 13-year-old Josh Griffin and 14-year-old Andrew Green noticed the beat up go-cart on the Clarke’s lawn.
The three are go-cart enthusiasts, especially Andrew who also has a passion for bikes.
“I own one identical to (Ben’s),” Andrew said during an interview with The Compass Aug. 20.
“I was going to try and buy the go-cart before,” Anthony explained. “I even asked the man who was there (on Saturday) if we could have it.”
Jennifer’s boyfriend Paul asked them to check back because she wasn’t home. So they returned later in the afternoon.
“I told them to go ahead and take it,” she said. “Ben couldn’t drive it anyway.”
Jennifer then proceeded to tell the boys the story of the vandalism, noting she thought she knew who did the deed but could not prove it.
As the boys took the go-cart, she thought she would never see them or the go-cart again. She was wrong.
Andrew, Anthony and Josh carried the cart to Irishtown Road — where all three boys lived — finding pieces along the way.
They found many of the pieces in some odd places, including the top of someone’s driveway and on Crowdy Street, the next road up from the Clarke’s house.
They officially had all the parts and could complete the project.
They worked for over five hours restoring the vehicle to its former state. Anthony even called home to extend his curfew to ensure they would finish the job.
With the go-cart looking almost brand new, Andrew, Anthony and Josh carried it back to Patrick Street at 10 p.m. that night.
“We were hoping that Ben would be in bed,” said Josh. “We hoped it would be like Christmas morning for him when he got up and found it.”
Jennifer was shocked to see the boys return with Ben’s four-wheeled vehicle the same night.
“She chased us down the road trying to give us money,” Anthony said. “But we couldn’t take it.”
Instead, they agreed to return the following Tuesday for pizza.
Helping a child out
When Tuesday came, the boys arrived with their parents to the Clarke’s house.
“We are bursting with pride,” Karen Griffin, Josh’s mother elated.
Josh’s dad Ken added, “It was so unselfish of them.”
Sheila Green, Andrew’s mother, explained how the boys were working on the go-cart after dark.
“One was holding a flashlight while the others worked on it,” she smiled.
Anthony’s mom Jennifer was so proud, she didn’t mind that he asked for the curfew extension. She also said, although her husband Paul couldn’t be there, he felt the same way.
“He was supposed to be home at 9:30,” she said. “But he called and asked if he could stay out a little bit longer even though we had no idea what they were planning.”
“We found out on Sunday when Jennifer invited them up for pizza,” Karen said.
Sheila was moved by the act and even took to social media to explain her son’s actions.
“My son was deeply hurt by the actions of the people that did this to (Jennifer’s son) and said, ‘Mom I had to fix his cart.’ I am so proud of him and the other two (young) men involved.”
Jennifer appreciated all the hard work the boys did just to make her son happy.
“They didn’t have to do it,” she said. “I'm still lost for words because of these boys and their selflessness.”
Turning down the money
The parents said the most surprising thing about the whole ordeal was that the boys turned down the money.
“It’s just hard to think any child would turn down money,” all the parents agreed.
“But they just wanted Ben to have his go-cart back,” Ken added.
The boys said they never thought for a second they would take the money.
“We were taught to not be greedy,” Anthony said between bites of pizza.
Andrew added, “We wouldn’t want something like that to happen to us. When we heard what happened, we wanted to help.”
The Griffins, the Clarkes and the Greens all believe that the boys did a great thing that will be talked about throughout the town and they hope it will convince other kids to take a stand as well.
“This act will reflect well on everybody (in the community),” Ken added. “You always hear a lot of bad stories. It’s nice to see the good as well.”
Jennifer said, "These boys are great role models and they have definitely made an impact on my son."