Students surprise special needs classmate with new shoes

SOMERSET, Texas -- A video of a special needs student receiving a special gift has gone viral - all because three football players at the school decided they wanted to help.

Students gathered to watch their classmate open his gift - two new pairs of shoes - and his reaction is priceless.

"Green! My favorite color, man!" the student is heard saying.

In a video on the Somerset Independent School District's Facebook page, sophomore J.R. Gilbert, a special needs student, opens presents from his classmates: two pairs of stylin' new shoes.

"It's from all of us. Everybody here gave 'em to you," someone says in the video.

"So it was like when we saw that, we were just giving to somebody who needs help," said Roger Villegas, who raised money for the gift.

KSAT reports Somerset juniors Roger Villegas and Salvador Solis started a fundraiser after Gilbert, who frequently squeezes his size 13 feet into size 10-and-a-half boots, told Solis in class he needed some bigger shoes.

"I told him, 'Hey, let's start a fundraiser. Let's get J.R. some shoes,'" Solis said.

So Solis, Villegas and another football teammate, Martin Ramos, sold candy to raise money. Between that and the cash they and others donated, they got the shoes.

"It's Christmas, so I mean, I think everybody deserves to have one of those Christmases like where everybody deserves to be happy. So I mean, and he's also our friend," Solis said.

J.R.'s mom said he was wearing the too-small boots because they were his grandfather's, and he insisted on wearing them instead of his shoes that fit. He may not have needed the shoes, but his mom says that doesn't change what the other boys did.

"It's not about needing it. It's something he wanted, and these boys basically granted a wish he wanted," said Linda Gilbert, J.R.'s mom.

And the boys got something, too.

"It really touched my heart. I mean I'm pretty sure it touched everybody's heart seeing somebody react like that. It's something special. It's something to remember," Solis said.