Classmates Surprise Special-Needs Student With Cool Christmas Sneakers
Just when you were beginning to lose faith in humanity, a group of Texas high school students have come through to prove that there is still some good in the world.
Somerset High School student Sal Solis teamed up with his friend Roger Villegas to raise money in order to buy a special needs classmate, JR Gilbert, the sneakers he wanted for Christmas, according to theWashington Post. Solis told the paper that he got the idea after a chat with Gilbert when he was looking at sneakers on his phone, and Gilbert turned to him to ask if he knew anyone who wore a size 13.
The conversation had Solis thinking that Gilbert, who has hydrocephalus (swelling of the brain) and ADHD, didn’t have shoes to fit him properly, though Gilbert’s mother, Linda Gilbert, later confirmed that he did. According to Linda, Gilbert really took a liking to his grandfather’s size 10 boots, which he chooses to wear in spite of the snug fit.
Solis and Villegas got together and asked their fellow students to donate money in order to buy Gilbert some fresh new kicks. The pair raised so much money, there were able to cop two pairs of sneakers for Gilbert.
Solis and Villegas, along with a large group of students, presented Gilbert with his new gifts, and it was all caught on tape. The video, of Gilbert ripping open his gifts and showing off his shoes — a pair of green Nikes and another pair of red unidentifiable sneaks — to the cheering crowd, has gone viral, being shared over 90,000 times on Somerset High School’s Facebook page and amassing 5.8 million views.
Gilbert says that her son was thrilled over the gesture. “It made my son feel good, it made his month, I think. As a parent, you just want what’s best for your kids. So anything makes them happy makes you happy,” she said.
The incident is providing people with a much-needed boost of holiday cheer, and has been getting an overwhelmingly positive response. “This is the best! I love how excited he is about the shoes, but how excited his classmates are is awesome to see. This is how we should all treat one another. It’s so great to see young people do this for him! It made me cry in the best way,” one commenter said on Facebook. Another added, “It is just not the gift but the love and care that went into the gift. His excitement and appreciation was so warming to the heart. Blessings to Somerset HS for reaching out to a friend and making his Christmas pretty special. Now that is what Christmas is all about, LOVE!”
Linda says she didn’t know a video was going to be posted of her son’s special moment, and was surprised when she got a phone call from her sister telling her that the video was online. Still, she hopes that the footage will help inspire and uplift people. “Just doing something out of the kindness of your heart that makes you feel good, and can make somebody else feel good. And that maybe this video can erase some of the hate that’s been generated throughout this last year,” she said. “If it can make one person smile, it’s done its job.”
Given the response to the video, we think at least on a small level, it’s doing just what Linda hoped it would do. Indeed, the spirit of love and giving is strong in the clip, and it’s exactly the kind of pre-holiday pick-me-up we could all use right now.
Watch the video above and try, just try to hold back your tears.