Big issue building over Richmond's 'Big World'

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RICHMOND, Ky. (WKYT) - The silhouette painted onto the side of First Gear, on Water Street, shows the trademark wave and lawn mower of Anthony "Big World" Mitchell. Although these days he's moving a little slower, without his mower.

"That's hard on me," said Big World from his bicycle.

Big World was recently stopped by police saying the mower went against the city's ordinance, and that they've received a growing number of complaints about it.

"What would be the issue after 25 years?" questioned Big World, "They're still not making (any) sense, you know. I was always on the sidewalk or the side of the road."

While Big World says it's harder for him to get on his bike, everyone from the city to his friends are trying to help him. They all say at the core of this issue is his safety.

"Folks cannot in good conscience watch him ride that slow vehicle, or any of his slow vehicles, in the traffic and not feel some concern. We have failed to meet our responsibility," explained Mayor Pro-Tem Robert Blythe.

He clarified to say that the city has let this issue go on for far too long without addressing it. Blythe continued to say he wants what's best for Big World, and what's appropriate inside the law.

"If folks are really concerned about him and his well being then they will want whatever is right to be the order of the day."

Still a wave of support is building for Big World.

"It kind of hurt his feelings. I think he didn't understand, at first," described John Perkins, who said he's known Big World for a long time.

Perkins, who owns First Gear, is doing all he can to help Big World and this isn't the first time he's stepped up to do so, either. A few years ago, Perkins printed and sold shirts to raise money to get Big World the mower that is now in the middle of this issue. This time he's printing shirts to raise money for an adult tricycle that's motorized and should meet city code.

The shirts are selling for $10 with all of it going to the fundraiser, and so far they are roughly halfway to the goal of $1,300.

"Everybody loves Anthony," stated Perkins.

That was later proven when a woman approached Big World in the middle of the interview to hand him a donation, hug his neck, and tell him she's supporting him. It's something that easily put a smile on Big World's face.

The town is taking up the issue, and plans to make a plea on Tuesday, May 13th, at the City Council meeting. Although, at this time there isn't anything on the agenda that would call for the council's action, Blythe said he welcomes the public's comments all the same.

While the end is still unwritten, one thing is for sure you can still see Big World making his way around town, waving, and smiling.

"It makes me smile when they holler at me," he grinned.

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