GoFundMe for Texas teen caught in red truck during tornado surpasses $30k goal


AUSTIN (KXAN) — The $30,000 GoFundMe goal set by a tornado survivor’s school nurse has been passed by more than $6,000 as of Saturday morning.

Riley Leon said he was driving home from a job interview Monday at Whataburger when his red truck was picked up by a tornado, thrown around a few times and spit out upright. In a now-viral video of the event, the truck can be seen landing on all four tires before speeding away.

“I had missed a couple U-turns due to heavy rain and when I caught a third U-turn — where I was going to take the turn — is when the tornado come and picked up my truck and I went flying,” Leon said.

A school nurse at IDEA Rundberg, a charter school in Austin that Leon attends, started a GoFundMe Thursday for the 16-year-old after she says a conversation with the family made her concerned.

“He said ‘my back has been hurting, it started hurting last night,’” Bianca Jaimes recalled.

That’s when Leon’s mom came to pick him up from school and took him to the doctor’s office where doctors found a fracture in the teen’s back. The family says they do not have health insurance.

In just a few short days the community has now passed the $30,000 goal set by that school nurse. Jaimes says all of the money donated will go directly to the family.

Comments from people who have donated are overwhelmingly well wishes from strangers.

“You seem like a sweet kid that was just trying to work on bettering yourself for you and your family. You just got caught at the wrong place at the wrong time. Glad your safe and I wish you a speedy recovery. From Houston, stay safe!” one of the commenters said.

A GoFundMe for Riley Leon has passed the $30,000 goal set by the teen’s school nurse (KXAN photo/Grace Reader)

“This young man needs a break. He is humble and wants to further his education. We wish him and his family all the best,” another, who donated $100, commented.

“It means a lot that the school is also trying to help me out and that everybody is worried about me,” Leon said. “Thank God I’m here safe.”

You can find the GoFundMe for Leon here. Chevrolet is also donating a new truck to Leon Saturday.