The Texas teenager whose pickup truck was tossed around by a tornado — only to land upright — is about to get a new ride, according to a social media post by a Fort Worth car dealership.
Viral video captured 16-year-old Riley Leon’s red truck being manhandled by the fast-moving twister Monday evening in Elgin, outside Austin.
Leon told KVUE he was driving home from a job interview at Texas fast-food chain Whataburger when he and his vehicle were swept up by the storm.
“I didn’t feel it. I didn’t [see] it. Supposedly, there were sirens going off but I didn’t hear it,” he said.
Despite the truck being flipped over by the EF-2 tornado with 130 mph winds, Leon said he almost didn’t believe it happened until he saw his truck with dents and broken windows.
“It broke me down, seeing my hard work is gone,” said Leon, who added that the truck has been in his family for more than a decade. “It’s family-owned, but my dad passed it to me, but I paid him off.”
The video of the high schooler’s tornado encounter has been viewed 6.8 million times on Twitter alone, bringing it to the attention of the dealership.
“Chevrolet, together with Bruce Lowrie Chevrolet of Fort Worth, TX, are donating a 2022 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 LT All Star Edition in Cherry Red to Riley Leon and his family after he survived a powerful tornado while driving in his Silverado,” the business posted on its Facebook page Thursday. “We are thankful Riley is safe [and] commend his driving skills during a frightening situation.”
Leon will take possession of the truck Saturday at the dealership, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
He starts his Whataburger job on Monday.