Reporting John Lauritsen
WOODBURY (WCCO) — While many of us are handing out roses for Valentine’s Day, a Minnesota boy is handing out houses.
At a McDonald’s in Woodbury today, 7-year-old Miles Mann gave away pop tab houses for the Ronald McDonald House.
“It’s a lot of fun even though it looks like hard work,” said Miles.
The second-grader’s mission began two years ago when he was in kindergarten. His grandma was saving pop tabs for the Ronald McDonald House and Miles wanted to help out — even though he has never had any friends or family members who’ve been sick.
“I don’t know where he gets it. It’s something in his heart that he knows is the right thing to do — to help kids that can’t help themselves. Kids that need something more,” said his mom, Kristy Mann.
While other kids were busy collecting video games, Miles began collecting pop tabs. Now, thanks to family, schoolmates and neighbors, he’s brought in nearly 100,000 in two years. That’s more than 60 pounds worth.
He’s also handed out more than 1,500 pop tab houses, which is exactly what he was doing at the Woodbury McDonald’s.
“Oh, he’s fantastic. He knows what he’s doing,” said customer Betty Olson, after taking a house from Miles.
The Ronald McDonald House was so impressed by Miles hard work that last summer they made him a keynote speaker at their international conference in Chicago. He brought his pop tabs with in a house that his grandpa made for him.
Now, dressed in his little sweater vest and sash, he’s the youth ambassador, and he’s always ready to make his pitch.
“It makes me feel amazing. It makes me want to be a better person. I tear up every time I think about how wonderful he is and what amazing thing he’s doing for these families,” said Kristy. “It just makes me feel happy helping other people. I really like helping other people,” said Miles.
Miles is now getting help from around the country, with people sending him tabs almost daily.
He says it would be a fun goal to gather about 1,000 tabs in one day, on his own.
“But I would have to drink 1,000 cans of pop and that would give me a stomach ache,” said Miles.
Miles’ appearance at the Woodbury McDonald’s helped kick off “Family Nights.” It runs from February 15 through June 5 and customers can get $1 off Happy Meals every Tuesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Pop tabs can be turned into any McDonald’s restaurant or Ronald McDonald House.