A Kentucky teen may have spent Labor Day feeding the homeless in his community, but the young man’s incredible kindness did not stop there.
Laron Tunsil Jr., aka Ron Ron, 14, was out volunteering with the PURP ME community group, when he came across a homeless man whose shoes were extremely worn. He sat down on the curb next to him and the two began talking.
“We were just talking about his life. He didn’t have any friends. He didn’t have nobody,” said Ron Ron, of Louisville. “He was just poor and stuff so you know I couldn’t just let him walk away like that.”
And, it was then that Ron Ron took the brand new Nike sneakers off of his feet and gave them to the man. “He didn’t want to take the shoes at first but I told him take them because that’s what God wanted me to do,” said Ron Ron. “His story made me cry so I just gave my shoes to him just to make him happy.”
In a video captured of the two that was posted to Facebook, Ron Ron is seen sitting next to the man on the curb as the homeless man says, “That’s what real is,” in a reaction to Ron Ron’s gesture.
Ron Ron knows what’s it’s like to go through hard times himself, according to Jason Reynolds, 30, the founder of PURP ME. He has seen Ron Ron come a long way.
“When I met Ron Ron he came up to my waist. He was four years old. He was a good kid but the streets had him for a minute. Ron Ron at one point was fighting doing things a teen shouldn’t do.
“To see where he is today is a miracle,” Reynolds added. “It made me feel so proud to see the changes he has made in his life and see him helping another person.”
The photo that PURP ME posted on Facebook of the two quickly went viral with support coming from around the world. Reynolds said his inbox has been flooded with messages asking about how others can become part of the movement in their own towns.
“We weren’t planning on this reaction. We post these things all the time to try inspire people,” said Reynolds.
Laughing, Ron Ron said that while his generous gesture has gained him more attention from fellow classmates, including girls, he didn’t do it for the recognition.
“It’s a lesson. I just know everybody don’t have a good life. What I want to accomplish is for everybody to stop judging each other and for them to come together,” said Ron Ron. “Just be love. That’s all it is.”
PURP ME has started a GoFundMe account to replace Ron Ron’s shoes, and to purchase a bus so more children can participate in giving to the community and realizing their own purpose.
Ron Ron said the experience changed him and it was “just his heart” to tell the homeless man “he do gotta family.”