Although the internet is known to be harmful, it can be a nice place now and then. In July 2023, a bullied Texas boy went viral on TikTok after knocking on his neighbor's door to ask if they knew anyone he could be friends with. He told them, "I need some friends, like really bad."
Read on for the rest of the heart-wrenching story. Plus, stick around to find out how the little boy's neighbor showed him kindness and raised nearly $40,000 in his name!
A bullied boy knocked on doors looking for new friends.
In the viral video, which amassed over 67 million views on TikTok in just five days, the young boy — Shayden Walker — nervously approached his neighbor's house.
"What's up, man?" the creator, Brennan Ray, asked from his doorbell camera. Shayden responded, "I just wanted to see if you knew any kids around like, 11 or 12, maybe because I need some friends, like really bad."
Brennan told him a few kids live in a house down the street, but Shayden revealed he's no longer friends with them because they bullied him in the past and "keep bullying" him.
Shayden then asked Brennan if he had any kids, who said he had a 2-year-old daughter.
"That's great! I actually ... I love 2-year-olds, to be honest. They're just the cutest things I've ever known," the boy said, adding that he "used to have" a 2-year-old sister (she's since grown up).
Shayden then told Brennan his name, who said he'll say hello to the young boy if he ever sees him in the area. The pair bid each other goodbye, with Shayden telling Brennan to "have a good day."
A follow-up video showed the bullied boy slowly walking up the steps to Brennan and his wife Angel's home about a half hour earlier; Shayden shied away but soon built up the courage and went back.
The boy's neighbors set up a GoFundMe for him and raised nearly $40,000.
Shortly after meeting him, Brennan and Angel launched a GoFundMe for Shayden to help him make friends. The pair said the money would go toward "a gaming system, school clothes, and hopefully some amusement park tickets and anything else he may want or need."
The couple raised $37,257, far surpassing their initial $7,000 goal!
"Thank you all for your generosity and kindness! We expected to see support from this community, but we're shocked and amazed by how everyone's shown up for Shayden," the couple shared on the GoFundMe page.
Brennan and Angel revealed that they "decided to turn off donations while we coordinate with his family, but all funds will stay in the GoFundMe account until then. We'll keep you updated along the way. Thank you! #kindnessmatters."
After officially closing the GoFundMe, the couple shared another video to TikTok and said they were trying to set up a time and place to meet with Shayden. Thankfully, the "meeting of the century" happened!
On July 9, the couple and their 2-year-old daughter, AnaVeah, met Shayden for the first time. They shared a slideshow of photos and videos of their tearjerking reunion, and Shayden couldn't have looked any happier.
Shayden's stepfather, Dustin, posted a video and said he's is a "totally different kid" than he was a few days ago, while the boy added, "Y'all have touched my heart so much, it's just literally to the point where I want to cry."
Many people across the world have shared their support for Shayden, wishing him the very best and hoping the young boy found some new friends. Yeah, we're all crying now!