After winning homecoming queen at her Mississippi high school, Nyla Covington handed over her crown to a peer more deserving, CNN reports.
The senior had been crowned during the school's football game in September, but quickly thought of Brittany Walters, whose mom, known as the "school mom," had recently passed from cancer. After Covington placed the crown on the aspiring nurse's head, Walters became overwhelmed with emotion on the unforgettable night.
"I just felt like it was something that was put on my heart," Covington told CNN. "It was really just for her, to bring up her day a little bit, and she'd rather have her mom than a crown... but the point was, I was telling her that she was her mom's queen and I was just letting her know that she was loved by many and especially me."
Nyla Covington is my Hero Of The Day ! She’s the beauty in the blue dress. She’s as beautiful on the inside ! Look up her story to give yourself a happy heart ! pic.twitter.com/kFKGooOQ2l— Kip Henley Blue Check Mark ☮️ (@KipHenley) October 10, 2021
After thinking of the community's "school mom," Covington had asked school leaders for permission to pass off her crown before walking in the direction of Walters and her father.
“All I could think about was my mom and how she wanted to be here, and then the next thing I know, Nyla walked towards me, and she hugged me,” Walters said, WDAM reports. “I just didn’t really think anything of it, and then she started to take off her crown.”
The two, although not strangers, had minimal interaction but were friendly with one another. They have since become closer in the days after homecoming.
Forrest County Agricultural High School's principal assured that the selfless act wasn't preplanned and added that he was proud of both of the young ladies.
The magnitude of Covington's kind gesture didn't go unnoticed by Walters.
"I just felt like so much love from her [Covington], and I just felt so much love for her and the whole school," Walters said. "As soon as I got off the field, I just got hundreds of hugs from every single person in the stands."
Walters' mother, A.J. Walters, had just passed and was recently laid to rest before the homecoming game. Despite still mourning and healing from the profound loss, Brittany said the night will inspire others to be more kind.
"I kind of feel like this is her way of continuing to help people because people seeing Nyla doing that will want to make them do something nice," she said. "That's exactly what she'd want to happen."
A.J. had touched the lives of the students at the school, and many of them attended her funeral. Sean Walters, Brittany's father, admitted that they are still just taking things "day by day."
He later said that the impact of their story is a continuance of the way A.J. "lived her life." He also applauded Covington's parents for doing "a wonderful job raising their kids."
"That's what I told them. I said 'it shows how much and how great a job you've done right here. Just the simplest act that she did," he said.