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For a lifelong northerner like me, the raw power of the 200 mph wind at the heart of a tornado is nearly impossible to picture. But even for a lifelong resident of the U.S.’s “Tornado Alley,” the ordeal of 16-year-old Riley Leon is hard to imagine. [Video below].

The Texas teenager was driving home from an interview at Whataburger when he got slammed by a tornado. He said, “I saw a lot of papers and wood coming in, but I never expected it to be a tornado that was coming my way.” The storm touched down suddenly and scooped his old Chevrolet Silverado. It flipped his truck and spun it around.

A viral cellphone video captured the moment the red truck landed just right, its wheels all touching the pavement. Leon floors it and drives right out of the swirling storm.

He admits there was no strategic planning. In fact, he acted mostly on instinct. “It was mostly blurry, because I didn’t know what was happening during that moment. I just knew that my truck landed and I drove off to the side to the road.”

Rainy tornado storm shown through driver windshield close view
Driving in a Tornado | summerphotos via iStock

What did Leon do next? He says he pulled over and called his mom. As he inspected the truck, he found the side absolutely smashed and scraped up where the storm had dragged it across the pavement. All-in-all, he felt distraught.

Leon got checked out by a hospital too. With multiple fractured vertebrate, he wasn’t faring much better than the Chevy. And Leon’s family had no health insurance. To top it off, his truck was totaled, leaving the injured teen with no way to get to school. But what happened next was incredible.

The wild video of Leon driving out of the tornado went absolutely viral. One of Leon’s teachers started a go-fund-me to pay for his medical expenses and the world rallied behind him. Over 1,200 individual donations poured in, totaling $43,175.

But that’s not all. When Chevrolet heard of the incident, the automaker decided to pitch in. Chevrolet gave Leon a brand new Silverado–in red–along with $15,000 to cover taxes and other expenses.

Finally, Whataburger called. Leon got the job.

Next, read about the 9-year-old who ran a mile for help when a tornado tossed his family’s truck into a tree, or see the viral video of Riley Leon’s drive below: