Police give Conway teen award for viral act of kindness; she says '#PAYITFORWARD'

Police give Conway teen award for viral act of kindness; she says '#PAYITFORWARD'
Sofi Turner and Jahiem accepted a Good Citizen Award from Conway Police for Sofi's viral act of kindness.

CONWAY, SC (WMBF) – The Conway teen who went viral for spending money from her first job to buy her classmate in need new shoes, socks, a shirt and a backpack was recognized by the Conway Police Department Tuesday.

Chief Dale Long presented Sofi Cruz Turner with a Good Citizen Award and personally thanked her for her random act of kindness, along with several of their officers, according to a Facebook post from the Conway Police Department.

"We need more people like Sofi in our community," the post states.

WMBF News first shared Turner's story on May 2 after she posted video and pictures her presenting the gifts to Jahiem, her classmate at Conway High School and long-time friend.

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"He has always been that one student where he does all of his work when due, never misses school, always helping the teacher out with stuff in class, and always being a happy human being," Turner stated in a Facebook post earlier this month.

The week before, Jahiem asked if someone can buy him a new pair of shoes, while not wanting to sound in need, Turner said.

"I've always thought about getting him something before but never had the money or the gut to do it," Turner continued. She recently got her first job at a restaurant in Barefoot Landing and was able to get money together to buy her friend a pair of shoes, socks, a shirt and a backpack, with help from her mother and grandfather.

She presented Jahiem with the gifts in class, and the emotional moment was captured on video.

"When giving him his stuff and watching him open his bag, all my emotions were coming out," Turner said. "Seeing him crying was very emotional because I could see that he was didn't know what to think. I am so thankful to know that giving Jahiem those shoes made him so happy and allowing me to realize that giving someone something so special can be life changing."

WMBF News posted Turner's video to Facebook, and it has since been viewed over 1.6 million times. CBS News also shared her story on their national news site and Facebook page – that video was viewed over 18 million times.

After her video went viral, Turner posted a follow-up to the story.

"I would like to say thank you to everyone for showing the love that was given to Jahiem," Turner said. "After giving him his shoes on May 2, 2018, the next day I see him with the shoes and shirts that I gave to him. The moment I saw him wearing his new shoes and shirt made me so happy and almost made me cry because I felt in my heart that he loved his gift."

A friend of Jahiem's told Turner that he was happy about the gift and making new friends. Jahiem's friend said people were adding him as a friend on SnapChat and messaging him on Facebook. Turner said her "heart was so full" after hearing how happy he was.

Turner said many people have been asking how they can help. Here's her message for them:

"We only ask that you find someone in your area that could use some kindness and pay it forward. Everyone has a Jahiem in their life, you just have to look around and see them!!!...#PAYITFORWARD"

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