WEST LOUISVILLE, KY (WHDH) — A picture of a West Louisville teen praying with a homeless man has gone viral.
“Just do what God said, love one another,” LaRon Tunstill said.
Purpme, a non-profit organization, has several meanings behind its name.
“PURP stands for people uplifting real people and it’s also short purpose. Everyone has a purpose,” Jason Reynolds, Purpme Founder, said.
The group is in the process of helping start a church called True Believers in Christ on 17th Street in Victory Park, a tough neighborhood with real problems.
That’s where Reynolds met Tunstill.
The 14-year-old’s mother said a few years ago Tunstill was a troublemaker.
She wasn’t sure how his teen year would unfold, growing up constantly surrounded by crime in West Louisville.
“Everyday, we see shooting,” Camille Carter, Tunstill’s mother, said. “Kids robbing people, kids breaking in and vandalizing. It’s a lot right where we live.”
The Eastern High School freshman wanted to take a different path, so he spends his time helping others.
On Monday, he was helping feed the homeless and that’s when one man stood out to him.
“You could tell like he’s been hurt so many times,” Tunstill said.
He asked if he could say a prayer.
He then noticed the ripped shoes on the man’s feet, so without hesitation he took off his brand-new Air Jordans.
“At first he was like no I can’t take these because these are too expensive and I told him you know, take it, because it’s what God wanted me to do, so I told him to take it from me,” he said.
Reynolds took a picture of the two and posted it to Facebook.
It has since been shared more than one million times.
Before it went viral, the teen came home in socks.
“What did he do? At first I was upset because I was like, we just bought these shoes a day ago for him for school and then I just realized that’s what God told him to do,” Carter said.
“I’m very proud.”
“I’m just trying to do right,” Tunstill said. “I’m trying to change the world.”
Someone has already donated a brand new pair of shoes to Tunstill.