Sometimes a bit of feel-good news can go a long way. With that in mind, meet Austin Perine. The four-year-old superhero is on a mission. He has taken to the streets to feed the hungry and the homeless, and his message is going viral. Austin, complete with his cape, isn’t your typical four-year-old. Or maybe he is, and that’s what we’re all missing.
Austin is taking on hunger in Birmingham, Alabama. “The red satin cape he wears, he says, makes him go faster. ‘It blows in the wind,’ he explains with a smile,” CNN writes.
The people on the street recognize him immediately, and they know why he’s there. He’s brought them food.
Austin’s father, TJ Perine, helps Austin in his weekly rounds. Together, they are “giving food and smiles.”
“It’s because of you that I want to be a better person,” a homeless man tells the boy. “You’re showing love, everywhere you go, right?”
“I am,” replies Austin.
Austin has an alter-ego, President Austin, that gives him the strength and courage to work the sweltering streets of urban Alabama. He dresses in a blue shirt and wears his red cape. He has a catchphrase, “#ShowLove,” which is printed on his shirt.
“Show love means, you care about someone no matter what they look like,” he explains.
“He likes being called a superhero,” TJ explains. “He’s his own entity — ‘President Austin.’ He doesn’t like being called Superman.”
If he could be the president, Austin would get right to work. “I would chase the bad guys out of school and feed the homeless,” he told CNN.
“Austin is just a compassionate kid,” TJ adds. “He just wants to see everybody happy. He’s always been a nurturer of his brother. He’s kind of like a little dad to him.”
Austin’s concern for the homeless began when he watched a nature show.
“Austin and I were watching an animal show and there was a mother panda that was leaving her cubs,” Perine said. “Austin began to get concerned, and I told him that the panda would be homeless.”
“And my dad said, it’s somebody who doesn’t have a home or mom and dad around,” Austin says.
So TJ took Austin to a local shelter. He wanted his son to understand the extent of the problem, and see that humans faced it too.
“He said, ‘Can we feed them?” Perine says of that first day at the shelter. “I didn’t expect to feed homeless people that day. But when a 4-year-old asks you, what can you say?”
Austin now uses his allowance to buy food instead of toys. That first day, they stopped in at a Burger King and bought food.
After word spread, “Burger King gave him a $1,000 monthly allowance for a year so he could fulfill his mission,” CNN notes.
That will likely be the first of many. Austin’s mission is in full swing, but the problem is massive. President Austin, though, seems up to the challenge.
Here’s another video of President Austin in action.