A 12-year-old boy in Buffalo, New York, saw his classmate being bullied because of his sneakers. So, he took it upon himself to buy his friend a new pair of kicks.
Bryant Brown, Buffalo Creek Academy’s dean of culture, said that the academy’s students focus on sneakers, like at many other schools around the country — and that the more expensive the sneakers, the more elevated the status.
“When you come to school, people look at your shoes before they even look at your face,” Brown told CBS News.
Melvin Anderson, a seventh grader, felt the pressure of not having fancy sneakers. He said he was teased for wearing worn-out shoes, until one day, he showed up to Brown’s class with a bright orange box.
“I asked him who purchased the sneakers and he said Romello,” Brown said. “And I was taken back a little bit and I was shocked.”
He was shocked because Romello Early is another student in the class. Early said it bothered him seeing Anderson bullied — so much so that he came home one day in tears and told his mother.
“When she got home I said, ‘Mom, you can take away anything you’re getting me for Christmas, or you could take my allowance, I just want to get him (Anderson) some shoes,'” Early told CBS News. “Nobody deserves to get put down based on a pair of shoes that he’s going to eventually grow out of.”
So Early scrapped together $135 from his life savings. He said he has no regrets.
“It made me feel happy to see that big smile on his face,” he said.
Early said his next goal is to convince fellow classmates that shoes were made for walking, not dividing and diminishing.
“It means everything to have Mello here, just being a good role model,” Brown said. “It’s going to be infectious, for sure.”
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