Why a 12-year-old boy is on a mission to solve his town's pothole problem

Last Updated Apr 13, 2019 11:53 AM EDT

Muskegon Heights, Michigan — For middle-school parents like Trinell Scott, algebra homework is often the easy part. The tougher part of parenting is figuring out what your kid is off doing when the homework's done. 

Monte says he didn't tell his mom what he was doing. "He saw a need and he felt like he could meet that need, so that's why he did what he did," Trinell said.

It all started one day when Trinell was driving around her hometown in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. The road was a moonscape of potholes, and one crater was so deep it took out her tire and axel. 

Monte was mad.

"I didn't want to see nobody else messing up their car, like my mom did," he said.

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Monte Scott filling in a pothole. Facebook

Soon after, a video popped up on Trinell's Facebook feed. Someone had recorded her 12-year-old son filling potholes. Trinell was shocked — but not surprised.

"He's just a kid that likes to help people," she said. "If it's the fall, he's raking leaves. Summer, spring, he's cutting grass. Winter, he's blowing snow."

Monte doesn't get paid for his good deeds.

"I tell myself: I have a responsibility of doing something to help the community out," he said.

It's something he said he's learned from his mom.

For parenting at that high level, Mayor Kimberley Sims honored Trinell at a recent council meeting. She also cited Monte for his roadwork.

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Monte Scott was honored for helping with his community's pothole problem CBS News

"We commend him for his heart and just being able to assist us with that, but that shouldn't have been something that he was concerned with," Sims said.

The mayor admits her town has a pothole problem.

"Shame on us as elected officials if we don't take this opportunity to do something about that," she said.

In the meantime, Monte isn't waiting on bureaucracy. He's still out there filling holes in his neighborhood with dirt from his backyard. 

A great son, and a future pond – what more can a mother ask for?


To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com.

This isn't the first time On the Road has reported on America's pothole problem. Charles Kuralt visited Conway, South Carolina, in 1985 for the town's third-annual "Pot Hole Festival." Conway residents from all walks of life had a friendly competition to see which team could fill the most potholes, celebrating with a barbecue afterwards.

Remembering the South Carolina "Pot Hole Festival"
  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.