The hero of this story is 13-year-old Dashawn Butler, who would have ample excuse to be an unruly teenager, having grown up without a father figure. His dad died when the teen was still an infant. Thankfully, the young man has still been surrounded by a loving family, including his mum Nicky Lopez and her new partner Maria.
Towards the end of the 2018 summer break, Dashawn asked Maria if she could drop him off at a local mall close to their home in Tucson, Arizona. He was excited to hang out with his friends for one of the final times before school started again – and Maria agreed to give him a lift.
Maria dropped him off at the Park Place shopping mall to meet his friends. She handed over some pocket money and told the teen she’d be back in three hours’ time. He agreed and left the car. Maria took a couple of minutes to organize herself, then spotted her son in an unusual situation.
Rather than drive off, she felt compelled to watch the situation unfold. Dashawn appeared to be speaking to an elderly woman. After a few months, the senior citizen handed him her bag of shopping. What happened next warmed Maria’s heart.
Maria quickly pulled out her smartphone and began filming the teenager. In the footage, Dashawn is helping the elderly woman transport her groceries into the trunk of her car. The proud parent continues filming for a couple of minutes as Dashawn walks alongside the woman.
Dashawn accompanies the frail woman all the way to her vehicle, making sure that her groceries are packed safely. Meanwhile, unbeknown to him, Maria was gushing at the teen’s kindness from behind her smartphone camera. The elderly woman was clearly grateful for the assistance of this warm-hearted teenager.
Maria posted the heart-warming clip onto Facebook and it soon started capturing the attention of the masses. At the time of reporting, the video had been viewed no fewer than four million times. It had also attracted more than 6,000 comments, mostly supporting Dashawn’s actions.
The loving words from Maria as she films the good deed is part of what makes the video so engaging. She drives around the parking lot capturing different angles of him. All the while, she’s expressing her pride and love for the teenager.
Dashawn got a fair bit of attention after the two-minute video went viral. He was interviewed by media outlets, both national and international. However, he has remained humble, stating that he didn’t think the act was a big deal.
Speaking to Yahoo! Lifestyle, Butler said: “I just saw her struggling, and I really thought she needed help. Once I helped her, she said her legs were really bad. She told me she thought she wouldn’t make it on her own… She was very surprised and shocked. She didn’t know that anybody would really come and help.”
As you might expect from a proud parent, however, Maria Lopez was far more ready to deliver credit where it was due. She told Yahoo! that the act blew her away. “Not that I didn’t expect anything like that from him, because he’s pretty much a good kid and he does a lot of things for people. I don’t think I really expected that though,” she added.
Lopez made her feelings even clearer in the video itself. As she drives around the parking lot filming Dashawn, she extols: “I love my son; I love him to death, I f***ing love him! I love him so much… I was proud of him before, and I’m super proud now.” By the size of the reaction to the video, it’s clear there are many parents who can relate.
Maria Lopez met Dashawn’s mother four years ago, and the happy couple tied the knot last year. In a post on website lovewhatmatters.com, the proud parent said that the teenager had always been an individual who looked, quite spontaneously, to assist those less fortunate than himself.
Needless to say, Dashawn has made everyone in his family very proud. Has this video documenting some teenage altruism become so incredibly popular simply because of its rarity value? Let’s examine some similar cases…
After all, it’s clear there’s a genuine demand for stories documenting heart-warming selflessness. Dashawn himself says he hopes he can inspire others to put themselves out for others. And he’s far from the only teenager out there with a heart of gold.
Earlier in the year, a Texan teenager hit the headlines for helping an elderly person who was struggling physically. Louis Jordan was photographed providing a senior citizen from the searing heat of the sun’s rays in Houston last May. His good deed was also held up as a reminder of why we should retain our faith in common decency.
Meanwhile, teenage waitress Evoni Williams was awarded a college scholarship after an image of her helping an elderly customer in a Waffle House in La Marque, Texas, went viral in March, 2018. The serving assistant had heard that the customer struggled to use his hands. So, she simply walked over to help him cut his food.
A photo of Evoni’s good deed, taken by another diner, soon swept across the web like wildfire. It emerged that the teenager was saving for college while working the job. After catching wind of the story, Texas Southern University decided to offer her a scholarship worth $16,000. Evoni was even granted her own commemorative day in La Marque after news of her kind act reached the town’s mayor.
It’s all further proof of the value that society puts on selfless good deeds. Arguably the story of Dashawn and the elderly woman in need of help with her shopping bag becomes more impressive when one considers the youth’s personal circumstances. Despite losing his dad, he’s clearly been brought up spectacularly well by other family members, including his parents Nicky and Maria, and grandparents Kiwanis and Charlie.
Great societies are built on the kindness of the community. By helping others in times of need, especially the elderly or physically disabled, we can make our hometowns a better place in which to live. Whether or not you consider Dashawn’s story remarkable, he’s clearly setting a great example for other teenagers – and adults too.