CHICAGO - It's a real-life "Cinderella" story for a high school student who was struggling to pay her way to prom and graduation. She was selling chips to raise money for both big events, and her efforts went viral thanks to the kindness of others.
Quinniya Hearn went live on Facebook last Friday after seeing Shaday Gooden Brown on a mission near her South Side home.
"Look at her hustle. This is ambition. This is goals," Hearn said.
The Gage Park High School senior has been selling snow cones and chips with her mother and siblings, trying to raise enough money for prom.
"Prom only comes once in a lifetime," Hearn said.
"The young lady said she was sitting here and she was praying to God for help. When I came and I said, 'Young lady, we are going to help you,' she couldn't believe it," said Quinniya Hearn.
Windy City Live Contributor Erica Watson saw Quinniya's Facebook post.
"I was just so touched by it because you have this young woman who wasn't begging for money," Watson said.
She reached out to her connections across the city including Quiana Allen, the owner of Curve Culture Boutique and makeup artist Janae Wesby.
"I don't want the makeup to wear her. I want her to wear the makeup and feel good about herself," said Janae Wesby, a make-up artist.
"She started crying. She was very happy that we all joined in to try to help her," Allen said.
"I got bullied and talked about because how dark-skinned I am and how my clothes are not up to date. When I tried on the dress, it gave me self-confidence because I don't have too much of that," Gooden Brown said.
A priceless gift that came out of the kindness of strangers, making this teen's dreams for prom a reality and boosting her self-esteem.
"I'm not used to all the attention on me. I'm like the background person," she said.
"I said, 'See, I told you God is good. God is good all the time. Don't you never forget that, Shaday.' I am happy that my child is blessed," her mother, Kesha Gooden, said.
They're not just helping with prom. They're also helping her with graduation clothing.
Prom is this Friday night. They're going to have a big send off for Shaday and her boyfriend.
She's actually going to wear a dress she helped pay for because she says it represents her hard work.