The young boy is a devoted fan of the University of Tennessee, but he was sad to not have a shirt to show the world his colors. So his teacher encouraged him to make his own. “This particular child came to me and told me that he wanted to wear a University of Tennessee shirt, but he didn’t have one,” she wrote on Facebook. It was college colors day at school, which meant that all of the other kids were going to be wearing their favorite colors. With pride and a smile, the boy drew his orange colors and the U of T logo on a piece of paper and attached it to his orange shirt.
But after lunch, he came back to the teacher in very different spirits. “He came back to my room, put his head on the desk and was crying.” He confessed to her that people had approached his table, making fun of his sign. His feelings were particularly hurt by the girls, who themselves weren’t even wearing college colors.
But after she shared the story in despair, Tthe post went viral – getting 7,040 shares. UT’s Interim President Randy Boyd got word of the story, and made a post of his own, which read: “I was touched to learn of a young Florida school student’s heart for the University of Tennessee, and I LOVED his imagination behind designing his own shirt. So many of us admire his love for UT and it’s awesome to see everyone step up to send him some UT gear!#EverywhereUT” A few days later, a delivery came to his classroom: a care package from UT staff, addressed directly to the young fan. The whole class was amazed at his gift – but none so much as him!
Then, the boy got an even bigger surprise.
The UT team decided to use the boy’s design to create an official UT shirt with proceeds going to STOMP Out Bullying, a national non-profit organization that is dedicated to eradicating bullying of all forms.
So many people went to the site to buy a shirt that the site crashed.