Anyone who remembers feeling the brunt of bullying in high school knows it can really snuff out the cheer of waking up and going to class. Tennessee teen Azzy Robinson and his mother know about that firsthand. Yet, an unexpected act of kindness from classmates gave them hope when they thought hope was lost; it manifested in the most amazing way—and was caught on video.
The 15-year-old was subjected to constant and severe bullying at school to the point where he felt “worthless.” At home, the warm and kindhearted ninth-grader became so dejected from bullying that he spent more and more of his time sleeping. His mother, Traci, could hardly bear to watch as her loving son began to feel like “being Azzy” was not a good thing.
It eventually got to the point where Traci had to take her son out of his school and move him to a different high school. Thankfully, this would be a turning point for Azzy.
I’m so impressed with Azie Robinson. I’ve met a lot of people over the years and he is certainly someone I’ll remember. https://t.co/ReIGwOwsAP
— Kim St. Onge (@KimWSMV) March 8, 2019
After being transferred to La Vergne High School in La Vergne, Tennessee, Azzy got a fresh start. There, the students and teacher of his biology class came to appreciate the good things Azzy had to offer: his compassion and generosity. And in turn, they gave him a warm “thank you” that not only brought him to tears, but was shared on social media and has inspired nearly 2 million viewers.
Azzy’s classmates had learned the reason why he had been transferred to La Vergne—the bullying—and they reached out to their teacher Sonji Newman. They planned for several weeks a special gesture for Azzy to make him smile. The moment came when fellow classmates Kerolos Girgis and Dylan Norton got up in front of the class one day and presented Azzy with a token of their gratitude.
“We got you some stuff because of how generous you are and everything you do,” said Kerolos, who presented Azzy with a wrapped box. An observer caught the exchange on camera. Azzy opened the box and discovered a brand-new pair of Nike running shoes; he clasped his eyes and began to cry. He managed a “thank you” through sobs.
Next, Dylan placed a gift of new clothes down in front of the tearful teen and offered a warm pat on the back.
“Those tears were pure joy,” Azzy later told Inside Edition, while fighting back sobs. “Almost proud to be me for once.”
PART 2: Meet the students and teacher behind the viral video coming up on @FOXNashville at 9&10. The teacher is hoping it will inspire the type love and kindness shown in the video to go viral. pic.twitter.com/LmFWpyIWCB
— Nicole Johnson Fox17 (@NicoleReporting) March 6, 2019
Newman filmed and eventually posted Azzy’s heartfelt “thank you” to the whole class on her Facebook page, and it’s truly an inspiration. Just watch for yourself. Along with the post, she poured her own heart out about how the experience touched her heart:
“We’re living in difficult and challenging times, not just for teens but everyone. OUR world is full of scorching bitterness, hatred and malice. But LOVE, puts out all fires and love out shines it ALL. Its time dim wrong and shine on RIGHT.
“I teach because I believe in our youth!! And, I’m grateful to be blessed with these amazing students!! Their actions took my belief in them to another level!! It delights my heart to know the future will be in hands of children who love and show love. And children who give back, when they’ve been given to.
“This video of my students absolutely displayed a need.”
Surprise pizza party!!
Posted by Traci Porterfield Robinson on Monday, March 11, 2019
She adds: “My students showed exactly what all of us need, and that’s LOVE!!!! The love and appreciation they show for each other in this video deserves every like, text and share it obtains. And a special thank you to Stephanie V. Myers for sharing this video with the world!!!
“I CHALLENGE the world to spread LOVE and display GRATITUDE and GREAT FULLNESS just as Azzie and his classmates did in this video.
The world is in need of LOVE!!!”