Bradley Augustin played football at Erie Community College, but dreamed of getting to the NFL.
On his roughly 90-minute walks to work from South Buffalo to West Seneca, instead of music, he listened to inspirational speeches.
The Buffalo man was celebrating his 22nd birthday with friends Wednesday night, when he drowned at Indian Falls in Genesee County.
“He had dreams,” said Ryan Lee, president of Wetwork Powerwashing, where Augustin worked.
Originally from Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., Augustin had only been working for the powerwashing company for about two months.
Augustin, whose mother died when he was young, was raised by his grandmother, Lee said.
Lee described his employee as respectful, polite and a hard worker.
“He hated disappointing people,” Lee said. “Whenever he did something wrong, you could tell he felt really bad,”
When Lee would arrive at his business in the morning, Augustin would be there waiting. He’d be repeating motivational phrases he had just been listening to.
“He was a real good kid,” Lee said.
State Police were called to a spot on Gilmore Road off State Highway 77 at about 7:35 p.m. Wednesday for the report of a man who jumped into the water of Tonawanda Creek but did not surface.
Augustin was pulled from the water near the base of the falls and administered rescue techniques but he did not respond. Foul play is not a factor and an autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death, State Police said.
No charges have been filed but the investigation is ongoing.
In 2014, Augustin played defensive back at ECC. He also played for the Buffalo Lightning of the Indoor Football Alliance.
Scott Pilkey, ECC’s football coach, described Augustin as a skilled athlete who loved football, but also a young man who “had a bigger vision of what his life was going to be.”
“He was a sweetheart of a kid. Big smile,” Pilkey said.
Pilkey took over the head coaching job at the college in March 2015, and Augustin was with the team in the spring but was not on the active roster when the season started in the fall.
Pilkey said Augustin would come to his office and they would talk about various things. They once had a conversation about the inspirational messages Augustin would listen to.
They discussed “the importance of being positive in somebody’s life,” Pilkey said. “The difference you make by saying the right thing to a person rather than saying anything to a person.”
Augustin was keenly aware of how he appeared to people, and viewed his life differently than most people his age, he said.
Augustin also told Pilkey he had big plans for his life beyond football.
“It’s a very sad day,” he said, “but we’ll remember him fondly as an ECC Kat.”