The kindhearted boy used his allowance money to buy the new pair of shoes for his school friend.
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This act of kindness happened a few days ago at Buffalo Creek Academy, located in the state of New York, and it was covered by news outlets including Today and The Washington Post. Its protagonists, Romello (whom everyone calls “Mello”) Early and Melvin Anderson, are in 7th grade and are very close friends.
A ragged pair of tennis shoes
A few weeks after the start of the school year, Mello noticed that his friend Melvin was being picked on by other classmates for the fact that his sneakers were too worn out. They even laughed at him and made hurtful comments.
Mello couldn’t stand to see his friend being bullied. “I really didn’t appreciate other people talking about him that way,” he told the Washington Post. In fact, he had been bullied himself because of his short stature, so he instantly empathized completely with his friend.
Today journalist Francesca Gariano reports that he decided to call his mother immediately after school, and amid his tears, he told her that he was tired of this bad situation and that he couldn’t stand anyone laughing at his friend: “I just really need to talk to you because my friend is getting bullied and I’m tired of it.”
Mello used his allowance
So, in an act of generosity, Mello proposed to his mother, Anita James, that she use his allowance money to buy Melvin a new pair of sneakers. Gariano reports that he also suggested that they could buy him one present fewer at Christmas so he could buy the new pair of shoes for his friend.
“I was floored, because most kids are not willing to give up something to another child; most kids are about themselves,” his mom told The Washington Post’s reporter Sydney Page. “Just to see at that age he was acting as an adult, it touched me in a way that I almost can’t even describe.”
After buying them, Mello went to bed ahead of his usual time so he could wake up early the next day and go to school a little earlier. This way he could deliver the sneakers to his friend, away from prying eyes.
“I was totally shocked,” Melvin told The Washington Post. “I felt very happy and very surprised.”
However, shortly after he gave the shoes to his friend, the Dean of Culture at Buffalo Creek Academy, Bryant Brown Jr, called him into his office.
His teacher was moved
Brown told him that he had seen Melvin with a box of Nike sneakers around the school. When he had asked him what was in the box, he had shown him that it was a new pair of sneakers. He had explained that it was his friend Mello who had bought them for him, a gesture that made Brown “get teary.”
Mello explained to the teacher that he had bought them with his allowance, Brown told Today. The teacher decided to photograph the two boys posing together and suggested Melvin show the camera the new pair of sneakers. He wanted to be able to remember this touching moment.
The post went viral
In addition, Bryant Brown asked the children’s parents for permission to share the image on Facebook. When they said it was OK, he published it, with the message, “My student Melo (sic) told me he was tired of other students picking on Melvin about his shoes. Melo used his allowance and bought Melvin some shoes. This is what I live for 💯 💯 be that helping hand.”
The post quickly went viral on Facebook and garnered more than 22,000 likes, was shared 19,000 times and received more than 2,200 comments.
Brown was amazed to see his post cause such a stir and get so many likes and stated that it was truly a kind gesture he had never seen in his life. He told Today, “We truly think it was a kind gesture that I haven’t seen ever in my life. I’ve seen it on YouTube and I see acts of kindness with students all around this world, but for it to happen at Buffalo Creek, I was lost for words.”
Mello summed up his motivation for The Washington Post: “You should always treat people the way you want to be treated. I have a lot of stuff, so I was thinking, let’s bless somebody else today.”
The school, Professor Brown, and the children’s families were all impressed by the response to their touching story.
A local organization called Candles in the S.U.N. rewarded Mello and Melvin with tickets to attend a Buffalo Bills game game to celebrate the good deed.
In addition, the story has also been featured in media outlets such as the Washington Post, national and local television networks such as CBS News and Today.
A school involved in the community
Buffalo Creek Academy is a tuition-free independent public charter school located in the city of Buffalo, New York. It currently serves students in grades 5-8, but it aims to reach up to 12th grade and prepare its students for college.
According to the school’s mission statement, its mission is to positively impact the community through civic engagement programs integrated into the curriculum. They intend for the school to engage children beyond the classroom, and they add on their website, “We believe that joy is an essential part of learning!”