“I saw the video and me and Jada were sitting around. I was like, ‘That is fantastic and there is no way that I’m letting this pass without making contact with these kids,” Smith recalled.
Will Smith rewarded three high school students for their act of kindness.
During Friday’s episode of "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," the talk show host welcomed the three Memphis teens — Kristopher, Antwain, and Micheal — who were at the center of a viral video that warmed people’s hearts around the world. One of these people touched by the clip was Smith, who was determined to make contact with the kids behind the inspiring gesture.
Before the "Fresh Prince of Bel-Air" star made his surprise appearance, Ellen spoke to the kids about the story behind the video. Here’s what happened:
Kristopher, a football player, had noticed people making fun of a new kid, Micheal, because he wore the same clothes to school every day. Kristopher, who admitted he’d at first laughed along with the other kids when they were bullying Micheal, went home that day and realized what he did was wrong. He then reached out to his friend Antwain, another football player, who wanted to help as well. As an act of kindness, the two boys surprised with Micheal new clothes and shoes — and another friend captured it all on video. Unsurprisingly, it went viral.
"It was the best day of my life," Micheal said. "I’ve been bullied my entire life."
"I wasn’t expecting it to go viral," Antwain expressed. "I just wanted to make a difference and to make people stop bullying."
Ellen thanked the boys for their inspiring gesture and then introduced Smith, who was her first surprise.
"It was viewed so many times by so many people," Ellen said of the video. "That’s why you’re here because not only did I respond, a lot of celebrities looked at this and said, ‘This is amazing. We want to reward these guys. Point this out. Shine a light on you. So, Will Smith come on out!"
All the three teens looked starstruck, especially Micheal, who told Smith he’s looking forward to his new film "Gemini Man."
The 50-year-old actor expressed how much the video meant to him and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith.
"I saw the video and me and Jada were sitting around," Smith recalled. "I was like, ‘That is fantastic and there is no way that I’m letting this pass without making contact with these kids."
"What you did felt small to you, but I promise you, that is exactly how human beings are supposed to interact with one another," he continued. "And it’s not more complicated than that. Somebody’s having a hard time and you help them. It’s that simple."
Smith particularly applauded Kristopher, who "self-corrected" after he had participated in the bullying at the beginning.
The "Men in Black" star then surprised the three teens with huge duffle bags full of New Balance gear, including fresh sneakers, socks and more.
"This is some special state-of-the-art stuff," Smith said. "It’s not even out yet. This is like a merch line I’m doing. I’m doing a secret drop — well, it’s not secret anymore, I just announced it."
"This is an act of kindness that I don’t want to soon be forgotten," he said. Smith then added that he and New Balance would be donating new gear to their entire school, MLK College Preparatory High School.
But the gifts didn’t stop there. Ellen also gave all three boys $10,000 checks courtesy of Shutterfly.
Watch the heartwarming interview and the viral video itself in the full clip, above.
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