14-Yr-Previous with Autism Collects and Distributes Hubcaps to Neighbors in Want
14-year-old Matthew has a real passion for cars, a passion that may be deepened by being on the autism spectrum. But this boy isn’t just invested in vehicles – he cares a lot about helping people and has found a creative way to turn his passion into a hobby that helps his neighbors in need.
It’s not a particularly glamorous proposition, but Matthew couldn’t be happier than him collecting hubcaps and giving them away for free to people who need them.
“He just loves helping people,” says Rachel Checksfield, Matthew’s mother. “He was always a helpful person.”
Photo: Instagram / flossleberry
Matthew from South Gloucestershire also has ADHD and learning disabilities and is attending a special school. He has always loved cars, especially the wheels and hubcaps of cars.
“We used to give him frisbees when he was younger and he put the Ford logo on them,” says Rachel. “He’s always been interested in vehicles and always wanted to touch cars, even if they were moving, so we had to teach him to be careful with them.”
Matthew currently has around 150 hubcaps in his personal collection that he keeps in the front yard until they can be assigned to the missing cars. According to Rachel, in just three months Matthew was able to locate 20 vehicles that needed hubcaps and match them to one in his collection.
Photo: Adobe Stock / imfotograf
It wasn’t until Matthew’s story hit Reddit that it really began to gain him recognition. A Reddit user calling the handle DiddyBCFC posted a photo of the hubcap and noticed that Matthew went to see his mother. “A big thank you to Matthew, keep it up!” Says DiddyBCFC.
Matthew’s note said:
“My name is Matthew, I am 14 years old, I live in Thornbury and I love everything about cars – especially wheels and hubcaps. I also have autism which, in my case, allows me to notice and memorize many details and easily tell the difference between different types of hubcaps and the care brand and model they fit on. I have a collection of these that I found in places like hedges, care parks, etc. I wash them making sure they are still complete, then I add them to my collection. Most of all, however, I like to give them away to people who are missing a hubcap!
Photo: Reddit / DiddyBCFC
“When we were driving past recently, I noticed that a vehicle next to your house was missing a hubcap, and luckily I have exactly what you need! My parents helped me leave it here for you, along with some zip ties in case you want to attach it to your car. I hope you like it!”
The note, adorned with a roadside and various hubcap designs, was signed by Matthew and accompanied by a message from Matthew’s parents.
Photo: Instagram / flossleberry
Since the story went online, it has become an international sensation. Rachel says Matthew hasn’t received a personal thank you, likely because of the pandemic, but received a note about the family car as well as online appreciation.
“With autistic children it is sometimes difficult because so many of their interests are on their minds and you can’t always participate with them, while he – because he needs my help – makes it more verbal,” says Rachel. “We’re incredibly close, but it’s nice to be able to do that with him.”
Keep it up, Matthew! They change the world, one hubcap at a time!