LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A photo has gone viral of a Kentucky teenager who gave a homeless man his own shoes off his feet during an outreach on Labor Day.
According to reports, LaRon Tunstill, 14, was participating in a mission to the homeless hosted by the group Purp (People Uplifting Real People), a non-profit organization that seeks to “help and uplift all people of the world, finding the purpose.” The group spent their Labor Day offering soup, corn bread and hamburgers to those living on the street.
At one point, Tunstill spotted a man sitting on the corner and decided to speak with him.
“You could tell like he’s been hurt so many times,” he told local television station WAVE.
“The homeless man explained that he had gone through a lot of loss and hurt in his life, and Ron Ron was very moved by his story,” Purp founder Jason Reynolds also explained to ABC News.
While Tunstill was talking with the man, he noticed that the soles of his shoes were tattered, with his toes literally exposed to the ground.
Therefore, Tunstill decided to take off his own shoes and give them to the man. He had just obtained a pair of Air Jordans the day before.
“At first he was like, ‘No, I can’t take these because these are too expensive.’” Tunstill told reporters. “I told him, ‘Take it’ because it’s what God wanted me to do.”
The two prayed together as well.
“Just do what God said, love one another,” Tunstill said.
Reynolds, who witnessed the encounter, decided to begin filming. He soon uploaded the video, as well as a still photo, to the group’s Facebook page to be an inspiration to others.
“Today a 14 year old from West Louisville, KY gave his shoes off of his feet to a homeless man!” he wrote. “While other 14 year olds are shooting and joining gangs Ron Ron is living out his purpose in life. Uplift someone today, love your neighbor as yourself! @truebelieversinchrist #Westend #PURPme #PURPose #TBIC”
As of press time, the photo has over 11,000 likes and more than 8,000 shares.
Reynolds said that it was a blessing to see Tunstill reaching others. The teen had gone through a rough patch three years ago before Reynolds reached out to him in the name of Christ.
“Ron Ron was a wild kid. He grew up in a rough area where people get shot all the time. The streets affected him a little, and at one point, he was fighting more, being disrespectful,” he told ABC News.
“Now, he’s the one mentoring other kids,” Reynolds said. “It’s amazing. He’s just so passionate to make a change in the world and inspire other people.”
Purp has now started a GoFundMe page to purchase Tunstill a new pair of shoes, as well as a van for the youth to conduct outreach on the streets of Louisville.