Detroit is full of amazing stories, and reporter Jennifer Wilson stumbled onto one during a photography stroll downtown after Thanksgiving. She and friend Colin McConnell spotted "something kind of different," the WXYZ staffer says at TikTok.
Near Brush and Macomb streets at the edge of Greektrown, they chanced upon "the tree-hugging coat giveaway," as she dubs it. A benefactor the pair identify only a Tony displays winter jackets he bought at a thrift shop.
"I got the idea from my grandmother," he says in a curbside video. "She always told me a person should never go without food or [go] cold. So this year I decided to feed the homeless and put coats out here. I don't want anybody to be cold."
The street charity was being performed before Tony went to work at Great Lakes Water Authority, a four-year-old regional utility.
He inspires Wilson and McConnell, owner of a clothing line called Detroit Respect, to collect Venmo donations [@jennawilstv or @ColinDetroit] so Tony can buy socks, food and more coats. Their appeals are on Instagram and TikTok (below).
In his pitch for paying kindness forward, McConnell says: "It only takes one raindrop to make a flood and we are all that one raindrop. If we all work together as a group, we can make a flood of goodness and positivity. I want to show Tony he's not alone."
Here's what the pair post:
My buddy @colin313 & I randomly met Tony today & I’m so glad we did! #Thanksgiving #giving #mvp #michigan #detroit #holidayspirit #challenge♬ Ice Dance (From "Edward Scissorhands") - Ashton Gleckman
#duet with @colin313 UPDATE on Tony’s giveaway this week♬ Worship Instrumental - Instrumental - Adrian Jonathan