You never know what you’ll find when you knock on your neighbor’s door. For one 11-year-old boy, a simple conversation at an Amarillo, Texas, front door led to an internet sensation and a heartwarming tale of kindness and community support
In early July, Shayden Walker went around his neighborhood knocking on doors, looking for new friends. One of those was the front door of Brennan Ray, a TikTok content creator. There, without knowing it at the time, Shayden was recorded on Ray’s doorbell camera.
Neighbors raised almost $40K for bullied boy who knocked on their door looking for friends pic.twitter.com/5EZJVjpAfa— No Jumper (@nojumper) July 8, 2023
“I just wanted to see if you knew any kids around like, 11 or 12, maybe because I need some friends, like really bad.” Those were Shayden’s words to Brennan, with the door between them.
Brennan suggested that he befriend some kids who lived in a nearby house. However, the boy was hesitant about that idea… and then confessed.
“Well, um, they’re not my friends anymore ‘cause, um, they’re bullies to me,” said the boy with his head low. “They keep bullying me.”
Do You Have Any Children My Age?
Right away, after a little hesitance, Shayden asked Brennan if he had any kids. Despite the man saying that her daughter was only two years old, Shayden was willing to be friends with her. In fact, he said that little kids are “the sweetest things ever.”
Then, the conversation ended, and they said their goodbyes. However, after this bittersweet interaction with his little neighbor, Brennan Ray did something about it.
The content creator uploaded the recording of his conversation with the boy to TikTok, which exploded with likes and responses. Most of them point out the kid’s sweetness.
Social Media Sympathized With The Boy
“Aww, he’s so sweet. He just wants to have a friend,” said one TikTok user in the comments.
Another reply says: “I have never wanted to hug a kid so bad in my life.”
Other users, meanwhile, felt familiar with Shayden’s situation.
“He is like my younger brother,” said another user. “I hope he finds some true friends and that he doesn’t continue to get bullied. No one should get bullied.”
Also, Shayden’s T-shirt caught the attention of a “Jaws” movie fan account on Twitter. And the admin of the account showed support for a fellow fanatic.
“Hey Shayden, if you’re reading this, get in touch. We have over 200,000 fellow #JAWS fans who would love to be your friend. #JawsFansStickTogether”,” said The Daily Jaws.
Fundraising in record time
But it didn’t stop there. Brennan and his wife, Angel, decided to do something more for Shayden.
After their interaction, Brennan and Angel initiated a GoFundMe campaign. The goal? To support Shayden’s needs and help him establish new friendships.
With this action, the couple hoped to gather funds for items such as a gaming system, new school clothes, and even amusement park tickets. Brennan and Angel thought that all this would boost Shayden’s spirits and offer him a chance to make new friends. The goal was to raise at least $7,000.
It Went Much Better Than Expected
As proof of the power of the internet and the kindness of strangers, a whopping $37,257 was raised. Of course, that took Brennan and Angel by surprise. After this, they stopped the campaign on July 7th after Shayden’s mom requested it. Later, the couple shared a video in response to the campaign result.
“Thank you all for your generosity and kindness! We expected to see support from this community, but we’re shocked and amazed by how everyone’s shown up for Shayden,” shared Brennan and Angel on TikTok after stopping the campaign.
A happy ending for Shayden
This heartwarming story of support did not stop there.
On July 9, Shayden met in person with Brennan, Angel, and their 2-year-old daughter, AnaVeah. Photos and videos shared by the family revealed a visibly happier Shayden, much to the delight of his newfound supporters.
Shayden’s stepfather, Dustin, also expressed his gratitude, stating that the positive response has transformed Shayden. Meanwhile, the young boy himself could hardly contain his emotions: “Y’all have touched my heart so much, it’s just literally to the point where I want to cry.”
This story serves as a reminder of the power of kindness and community support, even in our digital age. Amidst a global audience, a bullied Texas boy looking for friends found so much more: neighbors who showed up, an online community that cared, and a world ready to stand by his side.
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