Update (September 23, 2019): After going viral for donating clothing to a bullied peer, a trio of Memphis students got a once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Will Smith on The Ellen Show.
Kristopher Graham, Antwain Garrett and Micheal Todd became went viral when Kristopher and Antwain gave away their gently used clothes to bullied peer Michael. Their act of kindness. caught on video, earned them a trip to Ellen DeGeneres' daytime talk show last Friday and a chance to meet actor Will Smith.
"I saw the video, and me and Jada [Pinkett Smith] were sitting around and were like, 'That is fantastic,'" Smith said on the show.
Kristopher and Antwain surprised their classmate, and I wanted to surprise them with Will Smith. pic.twitter.com/y3ahWbKaJ7— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) September 20, 2019
Each student seen in the viral clip received a $10,000 check courtesy of Shutterfly and gifts from Smith himself. To sweeten the deal, all the other students at MLK College Prep will receive gifts via The Aladdin actor's partnership with New Balance, reports Commercial Appeal.
"I can't thank you enough for being an example to all the kids out there, all the adults out there, who need to pay attention to helping others," DeGeneres said.
Original: Two Tennessee high school football players stepped up to help a bullied peer who was picked on for wearing the same clothes.
Michael told the outlet he tended to grow out of his clothes faster than normal and that he had no choice but to wear similar outfits each day.
"I've been bullied my entire life," the teen told Fox 13. "My mom can't buy clothes for me because I'm growing too fast."
The financial struggles created a maelstrom of relentless bullying, reports 6 ABC. As the bullying progressed, classmate Kristopher Graham wanted to put a stop to it. The student-athlete decided to gift Michael some of his clothing to update his wardrobe and bring joy to the student."When I saw people laugh at him and bully him, I felt like I needed to do something," Kristopher said.
To make Michael feel more at home at school, Kristopher recruited his friend and fellow football player, Antwan Garrett, to give clothes and shoes as well. Last Monday, Michael was pulled out of his third-period class and presented with his new digs. A smile quickly appeared across his face, and Michael could not contain his happiness for the rest of the day."He wasn't smiling, and I was like, yeah, I think this is gonna make him smile," Kristopher recalled. "At lunch, he told me, he was like, 'You know, you two are the only two that actually ever gave me a gift.'"
The Associated Press reports Kristopher participated in the bullying initially. "I told him, 'We're in the same third period, and I apologize for laughing at you," Kristopher admitted.
"It was a weak moment for me," Antwan said of the emotional exchange caught on video. "I almost cried."
Both football players' act of kindness inspired others to donate to Michael. Those interested in donating can visit WHBQ's website.
"Awesome, the best day of my entire life," the teen said. "I was very happy, I was shocked completely."