Dakota Nelton put himself out there in a pretty big way.

It can be a big deal to take a chance at something new, especially if you’ve never done it before. (Or if cameras happen to be recording you doing that thing in question.)

Dakota Nelton found himself in that position ahead of his homecoming dance, and things didn’t go so well for him — not at first, anyhow. But then an act of kindness turned everything around.

The Leap of Faith One Young Man Took at School

boy standing next to a school bus

Nelton was a sophomore at H.L. Bourgeois high school in Gray, Louisiana, when he decided he was going to ask the girl he liked to the homecoming dance. So he made a big sign and walked right up to her in the hall. Unfortunately, the proposal didn’t go as planned, and she rejected him.

“It was actually a pretty tough moment standing in a small circle with that one shake of the head, and you just got to find your way out of that circle,” he told WGNO New Orleans.

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To make matters worse, the entire thing was captured on video, and the incident went onto Facebook. Nelton felt like the whole school was laughing at him as he watched himself walk away while kids chuckled and stepped on his discarded poster.

“That’s what made me walk away; I didn’t want to be a part of it,” he added.

The Wonderful Surprise 13 Girls Planned for Their Classmate

five girls standing

On Monday, Nelton dreaded going to school, but he dragged himself through those doors, where he was met with a wonderful surprise. A group of girls at the school had seen the video and decided to do something about it.

That day, 13 girls held up posters and proposed to the high schooler, asking him if he would go to the dance with them.

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“[We decided], let’s get a group of girls together and ask him to show him that he’s loved and worthy and deserves to be going to homecoming with somebody,” Alyssa Buckley told the publication. “We’re going to make sure he dances, like we’re going to make sure he is on the dance floor dancing.”

The kind act was enough to turn the entire situation around for Nelton. “I felt like one of the popular kids in school, which I’m really not,” he added. 

How High School Students Proved the Importance of Kindness

So often in movies and on TV, we see high school experiences of kids getting rejected before prom. In real life, those situations can be embarrassing and hurtful, especially when kids mock the person in question for putting themselves out there.

The fact that these girls banded together to show a hopeful kid that he deserves love, acceptance, and friendship is a huge deal, and it’s the type of behavior that all parents should encourage. If you’ve got kids, share this story with them to inspire them to perform a kind act for someone at their own school.

And if your kid is ever rejected like Nelton was, try and remind them of all the reasons they are awesome. Help them understand that everyone deals with rejection in life, and it’s important to treat yourself with compassion and to process your emotions. If you suspect bullying is involved, however, reach out to the school right away.

These experiences are a part of life, but they don’t define us. How we deal with them, however, can tell us everything.