Breaking News
More () »

'We are stronger than we think' | Austinite waves flag to raise spirits during coronavirus pandemic

He's been waving flags on a bridge over MoPac since July 2019, but lately has given his flag waving a new purpose during the COVID-19 pandemic.

AUSTIN, Texas — You may have seen him along Texas State Highway Loop 1, also known as MoPac, by the Hancock Drive bridge: a man waving a flag. 

"I saw this guy in the bridge with a flag and I live nearby and I was like what’s up with that," Frances Scott said. "I am connecting with people and helping people connect with each other."

The name of the man waving the flag is Will Olmedo. He's been waving flags on the bridge since July 2019, but lately has given his flag waving a new purpose. 

Olmedo waves his flag on the Hancock Drive bridge in hopes to spread unity and kindness in a world seemingly surrounded by division due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Olmedo told KVUE he felt the community could really use something to smile about. But the flag waving isn't just to make others smile. He gets enjoyment out of his flag waving during tough times, too. Olmedo told KVUE he was just furloughed from his job at a local bakery because of the coronavirus, but said waving and smiling at drivers and neighbors helps him too ... to feel like he’s being a small blessing to his fellow Austinites.

"It’s a reciprocal thing ... so I mean especially when I hear the honks means people understand what I’m doing it really makes me feel good and I know I’m making something happen," Olmedo said. "We are going to start learning how to communicate with each other and it’s going to start with this here; smiling at somebody new and ask them how their day is. We are stronger than we think. Especially when we help each other if we can learn to smile at a neighbor ... you know smile and say hi to someone new every day. If we did that, I mean this world would be completely different."

To keep track of Olmedo, follow @austinflagman on Instagram.  

WATCH: Man spreading joy above MoPac in Austin


Michelle Obama documentary 'Becoming' to premiere on Netflix

Alaska Girl Scouts get federal relief loan to cover lost cookie sales

University of Texas, APH, ECHO, local health centers team up to provide COVID-19 emergency care shelter for Austin homeless

Round Rock nursing home confirms 46 people with coronavirus

Moments of zen: Peace in Austin amidst the coronavirus pandemic

LIST: Confirmed Central Texas coronavirus cases by county

LIST: Austin businesses close permanently during COVID-19 pandemic

Gov. Abbott reveals a tiered approach to re-open Texas economy; details coming Monday

Watch Met Opera perform virtually for digital global gala

Before You Leave, Check This Out