An unlikely bond between a Stafford County, Virginia, school janitor and a student has gone viral.
Angel Echevarria, a custodian at Stafford High School, says he is used to being overlooked.
“It’s normally mean mugs and shoulder shrugs where I come from,” Echevarria said.
But in the middle of the high school’s bustling hallway, one student made an effort to get to know him.
“Angel’s one of those people that was always smiling, saying ‘God bless. Have a good day,’” senior Tristan McAlister said.
Echevarria stays positive despite the hardships in his past. Before working as a janitor, he was homeless for four years.
“Before I met my wife and she kind of took me out of that whole lifestyle,” Echevarria said.
Echevarria and McAlister formed a friendship about two years ago when they started chatting and found out they had some things in common.
“We started getting into shoes and what he did, and we started talking about sports. And we had a really good connection there,” McAlister said.
“When I saw him, I was just like this kid’s pretty cool,” Echevarria said.
Recently, McAlister asked Echevarria what type of shoes he should buy for himself.
“And he said, ‘You should buy the Jordan 8s.’ I said, ‘Oh really? Do you have a pair?’ He said, ‘No I got four kids. I can’t shop for myself,’” McAlister said.
That’s when McAlister decided to surprise his friend.
While another classmate recorded him, he walked up to Echevarria with a gift: a pair of Jordan 8s.
“Just to be able to know that he would be able to bless me with what he did was just amazing. It truly touched my heart,” Echevarria said.
McAlister’s generosity spread online and throughout the school when he tweeted the video.
“Actually, we weren’t going to even videotape but my mom was like, ‘I want to see his reaction!’”
“Because that’s really what it’s all about, I mean there are so many life lessons in school that we can’t teach and you guys are learning them,” Stafford High School Principal Joe Lewis said.