TAMPA — Last month, Douglas Hall’s world was turned upside down. Someone stole a trailer filled with his commercial lawn equipment.
Hall, a 32-year old single father, had started the lawn care business to help support his three children, ages 3, 4 and 5.
After a news story last week about his plight, Hall heard from people who wanted to help and on Thursday, he was able to reopen the business.
He received gifts of an enclosed trailer, a commercial riding lawn mower, a walk behind lawn mower, backpack blower, hedge trimmer, edger and weed eater, he said. All were slightly used except for the new backpack blower.
Other people donated gift cards enabling Hall to buy food and clothes for his children and more lawn equipment. He’s also received thousands of dollars in checks, which he plans to put toward insurance on the lawn equipment.
“It’s amazing,” said Hall, who lives with his children at his grandmother’s Brandon home. “I never realized I’d have the tools to be working already.”
Hall prides himself in helping others. He now sees that many people share that value, he said.
“It opened my eyes and made me realize there were more people like me out there,” Hall said.
Brian Gulash contacted Hall and donated an enclosed trailer and a riding lawn mower.
Three years ago he was running his landscape business in Bradenton when his equipment was stolen from two trailers he owned.
“We had nothing left,” said Gulash, 34, of Lutz. “We had to start our lives over again. I know exactly how Douglas felt.”
“I’m a man of faith,” said Gulash, a manager of an Auto Zone in New Tampa. “I think we are here to help each other out.”
Shortly after Bo Jones went into the garden store business in 2001, vandals struck. People helped repair the damage then supported his business. Some people even bought broken concrete pots, he said.
When he read Hall’s story, he knew he needed to help. He contacted Hall and sent him $350 in gift certificates.
Jones, 43, of Tampa, said he’s excited to learn how many people supported Hall; more than 60 contacted the Tribune to help.
“I think it’s incredible,” Jones said. “It just goes to show karma.”
Hall said he’s been trying to write thank you cards but many people sent gift cards with no return address.
Right now he’s trying to get his business back in order.
“Everything is a blessing; everything helps,” Hall said.
“Thank you and may God bless everybody who has helped me. It’s been a real blessing.”