Days before, senior Yaovi Mawuli had watched as another student, Jared Newby, was taunted in the hallways of Northeast Guilford High School over his "torn out" kicks. They had apparently been through the ringer, Mawuli explained to Fox 8, and the soles on the inside of the shoes had noticeably popped out. This, for reasons unknown, was hilarious to a pack of high school bullies, who teased Newby in front of others.
In the days that followed, that cruel hallway scene didn't stray far from Mawuli's mind. Particularly because, he later explained, he too had been made fun of for his sneakers before.
"I remember I got made fun of for wearing some shoes that had 2006 on them while we were in 2008," he told Fox 8.
At the time, Mawuli truly couldn't afford new sneakers — he had just moved to the U.S. from Togo, a small French-speaking country in Africa. But now, the hard-working senior just so happens to collect, buy, clean and sell sneakers, as a bit of a side gig. And since he happened to have a pair of Air Jordan 11s in his stash, the teen decided Newby deserved them more than anyone.
Now if you think all that is sweet in and of itself, there's more. Mawuli went out of his way so as not to embarrass Newby with the gift. After chatting with a sneaker fan group on Facebook for advice, Mawuli handed the shoes over to a guidance counselor on December 17, who then gave Newby the shoes on behalf of Mawuli.
Needless to say, Newby, who's been described as quiet, smart and very nice, was incredibly touched by the gift. And although Mawuli's intention was to keep the whole thing discreet, school Principal Fabby Williams was not about to let the good deed go unnoticed. The story was apparently shared over the loud speaker later that week, as a means of inspiring other students to show the same kind of generosity to their peers.
"We focus on building character at our school,” Williams told Yahoo Parenting. "And I’m proud of Yaovi, because he seized the moment and helped secure a new pair of sneakers for Jared. I can’t take any credit for that."