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From Couch To Work: Kingston Mom Uses Facebook To Get Her Teen Out Of The House During Pandemic

KINGSTON (CBS) - The pandemic has thrown a wrench into the routines of many families. Kids have been unable to go to school, play sports or see their friends.

Sharon Collins, of Kingston, wanted her teenage son Thomas to use the downtime wisely, so she took to social media to get him jobs doing yard work.

"I made up this big story about how lazy he was and people just started calling me," Collins told WBZ.

Collins posted on Facebook with the hashtag #campaigngetthomasoffthecouch.

"He was eating me out of the snack cabinet, being lazy on the couch and playing video games, so I said what the heck, I'll try to get him something," Collins explained.

mary and thomas
Thomas and one of his clients, Mary from Manomet. (Photo credit: Sharon Collins)

Thomas mows and rakes lawns, weeds garden beds and stacks firewood, among other tasks. The more yard work he did during the pandemic, the more he and his mom realized his customers liked their freshly mowed lawns, but they enjoyed Thomas' company more.

"I've noticed in the past few months it's become not just him mowing, it's become him going and giving company to people who are stuck in their house," Collins said.

"A lot of them seem like they're enjoying more talking to me, me eating with them, then me actually doing the work. They just want the interaction," Thomas told WBZ.

"A lot of them make me lunch and tell me a lot of stories. It makes me really happy, like I'm helping people out," Thomas said.

"Sometimes, I think he's probably bored stiff talking to an old lady, but he never indicates that in any way. He's a good listener, too, so it's been nice," said Mary Powers, of Pembroke, a customer since May.

Powers looks forward to their weekly chats through her second-story window. Thomas mows Powers's lawn and helps out in her vegetable garden. Another customer, Mary from Manomet, even wrote Thomas's mom a letter.

"She wrote what a fantastic young man he is and that he reminds her of her grandson, and she can't see her family and it's much harder these days to even see anyone. She said, in not so many words, that she liked his company and she wished she could pay him every week so he could come and talk to her," said Collins.

"He's gone out and he's proven to me that he's kind and empathetic, and you don't always see that in a teenage boy that's 16 years old. I am proud of him because I don't think I taught him that, but somehow, he knows how to do it. I can't take any credit for this. He just came the way he is, and he's certainly not an angel, please god, but he's shown his true colors, and I hope he'll always be his true colors."

Collins said her son's schedule is pretty full these days, but if you live in the Kingston, Halifax, Plympton, Plymouth or Duxbury area and are looking to have some yard work done, you can reach out to her directly on Facebook.

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