Will Smith is not about to let a huge act of kindness go unnoticed.
In a surprise appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Friday, the actor, 50, greeted three Memphis high school students, Kristopher, Antwain and Micheal, whose video showing them standing up to bullying quickly went viral.
Kristopher explained to the host that he and Antwain — who barely knew the bullied student — gifted Micheal with new clothes after students at the school mocked him for repeating his outfits. While Kristopher admitted he was “also laughing alone” when Micheal was made fun of, his reflection later that night prompted a change of heart.
“Once I went home and thought about it, I wanted to apologize to Micheal, but I wanted to give him something in the apology,” Kristopher told Ellen DeGeneres.
Micheal added that he “was surprised, shocked, happy, tried to keep a straight face instead of showing my smile,” during the heartwarming moment, sharing “it was the best day day of my life because I was bullied my entire life.”
The viral video caught the attention of many celebs, DeGeneres noted, including Smith who then stepped onto the set.”I saw the video, and me and Jada [Pinkett Smith] were sitting around like ‘That is fantastic,’ there is no way that I’m letting this pass without making contact with these kids,” the Gemini Man star said as he sat down with the students.
“What you did felt small to you, but I promise you that is exactly how human beings are supposed to interact with one another,” the actor told the boys. “It’s not more complicated than that. Somebody is having a hard time and you help them. It’s that simple.”
“What was really big also was the self-correct,” Smith, 50, added of Kristopher’s turnaround. “You saw that you were laughing and you were part of it and you stopped and self-corrected.”
Smith celebrated the boys’ kind gesture by rewarding all three with a swag bag from his upcoming “secret merch line.” “I talked to the people at New Balance, and this is an act of kindness that I don’t want to soon be forgotten. We’re gonna get gear for everybody at your school, all 600 kids at your school,” he shared, with the school leaders applauding in the audience. DeGeneres also chimed in with a gift of her own —$10,000 checks for each student, courtesy of Shutterfly. The Ellen DeGeneres Show airs weekdays in syndication.