While many of us have our concerns about the TikTok generation, also known as Gen Z, a story out of Buffalo, New York gives us hope that despite their hot Cheetos and choreo-dance obsessions, they just might turn out ok. Seventh grader Romello “Mello” Early showed true character this past week when he sacrificed his allowance to purchase a pair of sneakers for a fellow student.
“I just really need to talk to you because my friend is getting bullied and I’m tired of it,” Mello told his mother Anita James one day after school at Buffalo Creek Academy. James recalls the moment while speaking to the TODAY Show, adding that her son cried as he recounted the comments made by some of his classmates towards his friend Melvin Anderson, also a seventh grader attending Buffalo Creek. The 12 year old then asked to use his saved allowance to buy Melvin a new pair of kicks, even offering to give up one of his Christmas presents to get a yes from his mother.
After purchasing the shoes, that night Mello went to sleep “extra early,” excited to wake up and surprise Melvin at school the following day. What he didn’t anticipate however was being called to the classroom of Bryant Brown Jr., Dean of Culture at Buffalo Creek Academy, shortly after gifting Melvin.
After seeing Melvin in class with the new box of shoes, Brown inquired about where he had received them. The Dean tells TODAY that he became teary eyed upon hearing the story, and called Mello in to speak with him about his good deed.
“I said ‘Call Mello’ and Mello came and explained to me that he bought them with his allowance,” Brown said.
Brown took a picture of the two students standing side by side outside of his classroom, and with permission from both of their parents, posted the image to facebook with the caption: “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, but Brown shares that he had no idea the story would get so much attention. “We truly think it was a kind gesture that I haven’t seen ever in my life,” he said. “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.”
Melvin’s father was at first unsure of how to react to the virality of the post, but he is happy the story is inspiring others to act kindly.
“Just treat everybody with kindness instead of trying to ridicule the other child, because they never know what their parents are going through — a financial situation, mental situation, or whatever the case may be,” he said. “I just hope that that spreads around. I don’t hope everybody buys everybody a pair of sneakers, but instead of being mean and telling jokes, just console one another. Lift everybody up.”