Despite the pandemic robbing him of his job, he was determined to put some good out into the universe in any way he could.
When advertising executive Brian Schwartz's former employer cut down the staff size following the economic downfall brought about by the coronavirus pandemic, the newly-unemployed 39-year-old decided to do some cutting of his own. Steering away from his previous career as the VP of an ad agency in New York, Schwartz started a lawn-mowing service out of the trunk of his family's Jeep for the elderly, disabled veterans, and underprivileged communities — all free of charge. Despite the pandemic robbing him of his job, he was determined to put some good out into the universe in any way he could.
"I believe in putting some good into the universe," Schwartz of Wayne, New Jersey, told NorthJersey.com. "I see what's going on in the world, and I just want to help out." The 1999 graduate of Wayne Valley High School revealed to WNYW that the idea for the free lawnmowing service came to him while actively searching for a job after being laid off in mid-June. "I decided on a whim to put my name out there in some shape or form to help out with tons of bad news going on," he said. "I just wanted to do something good."
"I just want to do good," added Schwartz, who refuses to accept payment or tips. "It feels good, it feels right, following my heart." One of his customers is Ridgefield resident Roy Hail, who revealed that even though he offered to pay for the gas used in the mower, his offer was turned down. "Right now I have a link on the website called iwanttomowyourlawn.com that has a link for gas money donations," said Schwartz. Currently, he offers his services to those who are at least 65 years old in Bergen, Essex, Morris, and Passaic counties and has five regular customers, with many more reaching out in recent days.
82-year-old Judith Jack, of Wayne, gushed that "it was a blessing to have him [Schwartz] come" as she has been unable to mow her lawn ever since her lawnmower broke down. She could not find anyone to cut her yard, which is less than two-tenths of an acre. "It's not real big," she said. "The lawn services don't want to do a little lawn." Schwartz's first clients were Stephen DeMilia and his 93-year-old mother, Sue, who have lived in a home on Fairview Avenue in Veron for over six decades.
Being his mother's full-time caregiver while working on the side as a census taker, the 61-year-old DeMilia admitted that he often felt "overwhelmed" by his responsibilities. He got in touch with Schwartz after receiving a letter from the township, notifying him that his grass was too long and needed to be mowed. It was a decision he didn't have to regret as he was quite impressed by Schwartz's "one in 100,000" character. "We offered him money, and he turned it down," DeMilia said. "His generosity is self-evident. He's a rare person in our society."
"I've been looking at a computer for the past 15 years," Schwartz said, "so it feels refreshing to be out and about." Describing his initiative on the I Want To Mow Your Lawn website, he wrote: In June 2020, I was laid off from a Digital Advertising Agency based in NYC. (Thanks Covid-19). Soon after, I decided on a whim to start a FREE Lawn Mowing program for Seniors 65+ in North New Jersey. With a moonshot vision to scale beyond just one small area of the country — through the help of advisors, volunteers & other network partners. With all going on in the world, it’s the least I could do for our elderly neighbors. I love grandparents. I miss mine. Feels good to help out. Also looking to help disabled veterans!