(CNN) – A picture of a West Louisville teenager praying with a homeless man has gone viral. The emotional story behind the photo, and what led the teen to an amazing act of generosity.
Imagine walking a mile in someone else’s shoes.
LaRon Tunstill, teen who gave homeless man his shoes said, “Just do what God said, love one another”
What if we all tried to live that way?
Jason Reynolds, Purpme Founder said, “We’re going to take back the city.”
The non-profit organization Purpme has several meanings behind its name.
Jason Reynolds said, “PURP stands for people uplifting real people and it’s also short purpose. Everyone has a purpose.”
The group is in the process of helping start a church called true believers in Christ on 17th street in Victory Park. A tough neighborhood with real problems. That’s where founder Jason Reynolds met Laron Tunstill or Ron Ron.
Jason Reynolds said, “When I first met him, he was wild.”
Camille Carter, Teen’s mother said, “It was tough for me,”
The 14 year old’s mother will tell you. A few years ago Ron Ron was a troublemaker. She wasn’t sure how his teen years would unfold growing up constantly surrounded by crime in West Louisville.
Camille Carter, Teen’s mother said, “Everyday. We see shooting. Kids robbing people, kids breaking in and vandalizing. It’s a lot right where we live.”
That’s not the path this eastern high school freshman wanted to take. That’s why he spends his time helping others. Monday, it was feeding homeless and that’s when one man stood out to him.
LaRon Tunstill, “You could tell like he’s been hurt so many times.”
He asked if he could say a prayer. He then noticed the ripped shoes on the man’s feet, so without hesitation he took his off brand new air Jordan 11’s.
LaRon Tunstill, “At first he was like no I can’t take these because these are too expensive and I told him you know, take it, because it’s what God wanted me to do, so I told him to take it from me.”
Reynolds snapped this picture and posted it to Facebook. It took off from there. Viewed and shared more than a million times around the country. Even world. Before it went viral, this teen came home in socks.
Camille Carter, Teen’s mother said, “What did he do? At first I was upset because I was like, we just bought these shoes a day ago for him for school and then I just realized that’s what God told him to do. I’m very proud.”
Making a difference one step at a time.
LaRon Tunstill said, “I’m just trying to do right. I’m trying to change the world.”
We now know that someone has already donated a brand new pair of shoes to Ron Ron. If you are interested in helping “Purpme,” you can get more information at Purp.me.