On the last day of summer vacation before school started last week, 13-year-old Dashawn Butler asked one of his mothers to drop him off at the mall. When he got out of the car, he did something that simply came naturally to him, and the sight inspired his mom Maria Lopez to take out her phone and take a video that would become a viral sensation.
“I love my son; I love him to death,” Lopez says in the video, which shows the tall African-American teen helping a stooped, elderly white woman with a cane walk across the parking lot to her car. The clip goes on for two minutes as she drives around the parking lot, capturing different angles of her son’s good deed and gushing, “I f***ing love him! I love him so much. … I was proud of him before, and I’m super proud now.”
Butler doesn’t feel his act was such a big deal.
“I just saw her struggling, and I really thought she needed help,” he tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Once I helped her, she said her legs were really bad. She told me she thought she wouldn’t make it on her own. I said, ‘Don’t worry, I got you.’ … She was very surprised and shocked. She didn’t know that anybody would really come and help.”
But something about the simple sight of a kid doing the right thing and a mother’s enthusiasm for him seems to have captured people’s hearts. The video has been watched more than 4 million times since Lopez posted it on Aug. 1.
“Do you know how much grief I caught for dropping the F bomb?” she tells Yahoo, referring to a handful of the mostly positive comments her video has received. “It truly was never my intention for it to go this viral. I posted it on Facebook solely so that his great-grandmother could see it in Georgia.”
The post spread to the Instagram account @Living.While.Black, and comedian D.L. Hughley reposted on Thursday morning, writing, “There’s no amount of success you can achieve that can compare to raising a good child.”
Lopez takes no credit for this good deed.
“I’ve only been in Dashawn’s life for four years, and he was already amazing prior to that,” she says.
But her wife, Nicci Butler-Lopez, says that Dashawn’s kindness comes from within.
“Honestly, that’s just the kind of kid that he is,” she tells Yahoo. “We’ll go out to eat, and if he sees a homeless person, he’ll give him his leftover food. That’s always been him. Where it comes from, I honestly don’t know.”
It is not lost on her that this is not when some people see a black teenage boy in America, they are not looking for his kind soul.
“Being the mother of a young black male, I get nervous every time he leaves the house, which is really sad to say, in this day and age,” Butler-Lopez says. “Especially now with him being 13 and not looking like your average 13-year-old. I have to tell him, sadly, this is how you have to be as a black man in the United States: Always be aware of your surroundings, make sure you say, ‘Yes ma’am, no sir.’ Be respectful, whatever you’re told to do by an adult, make sure you do it and follow through.”
Butler-Lopez says that none of that negativity seems to affect her son. “Regardless of this crazy world that we’re in, he knows his heart, and he’s still going to go help out anybody, regardless of their gender or race,” she says.
It doesn’t look like internet fame is going to his head yet either: “No one at my school really knows,” Butler says, “except the people in the office,”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
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