When Estevan Aguilar saw his mom struggling without work because of an illness, the 13-year old began to brainstorm what he could do to help.
Aguilar, of Lubbock, Texas, went to his mom, with the idea of mowing lawns — a temporary job he thought could help bring in enough money for school supplies and shoes for himself and his siblings.
“I want to help you get a couple shoes for me and my sister and brother, and school supplies,” Evalena Castro, Aguilar’s mom, remembers him saying.
She told him not to worry. But Aguilar remained steadfast.
Soon enough, they had a full-fledged operation.
“He’s done at least 30 yards,” she said. “He was off for a day because I think the sun kinda got to him and I was like, yeah, you're not doing anything for a day. Just relax here at home.”
Aguilar said he wanted to help out his family because of the hardships he’s had to overcome.
His dad, he said, has not been in the picture since he was born. His siblings, 10-year-old Jose Alvarado and 8-year-old Floresme Alvarado, similarly grew up mostly without their father.
"Well first, I wanted to mow a couple lawns just to get me and my siblings some shoes," he told ABC News Thursday. "But when it turned out to be really big, I decided to take it a step further and, you know, get my brother and sister school supplies and school clothes and help them out for the school year."
“I try to be there for them and show them what’s right and what’s bad,” Aguilar said. “You know, I’m just trying to step in there and be that father figure.”
His lawn-mowing efforts were first detailed by Everything Lubbock, after his mom was taken to the emergency room when she fainted at work on June 13. Doctors have been unable to figure out what’s wrong, Castro said, but she has fainted twice since the initial incident and has not returned to her work as a corrections officer.
“It’s just been very difficult because, you know, you have to go to work in order to get paid,” she said.
Castro said her son’s eagerness to support the family is a staple of his personality.
“It should be the other way around. They say he should look up to me but in reality, I look up to him.”
Aguilar hopes to continue his business operation for however long he needs. The smile on his sister’s face when she was able to get a unicorn pencil case “motivated [him] to keep going.”
“I would like to find a career somewhere out in the medical field or a marine biologist,” he added, “but for now I’m sticking to mowing lawns.”