Everyday Heroes

High School Janitor Donates Boots Gifted To Him By Students

After some people criticized the act of kindness, he decided to pay it forward.

According to his mother, Jack Sweeney is a kid who talks to everyone. That includes Antonio “Tony" Coelho, the custodian at Attleboro High School where Sweeney attends.

Jack and Tony chat every day, and Jack says he considers him to be a good friend.

“I see him almost every single day and it's really just his acts of kindness and how he'll drop anything for anyone," Jack told WBZ-TV .

In a Facebook post, Jack's mom, Marcia Niccoli Sweeney, shared the story of how, after learning that Tony could use a new pair of work boots, her son got his friends to pitch in and buy him a brand-new pair of Timberlands for Christmas. The group of seniors even bought his wife a gift, too.

Jack gave Tony and his wife the gifts in the school cafeteria last week. One of Jack's pals caught the moment on video and Marcia later shared it in her post.

(Source: Marcia Niccoli Sweeney Facebook )

Tony was thrilled with his gift and you can tell by the loud cheers and applause heard in the video that the students were just as excited to give him the boots. Marcia included the hashtags “#kindness, #proudmom and #greatbunchofkids" in her post.

While the story about the sweet act of kindness should have stopped there, it didn't. After seeing Marcia's post on social media, some parents argued that the custodian violated an ethics rule by accepting a gift from the students, and that the students should have known better.


Not wanting to get the students in any trouble, Tony decided to pay it forward and gave the boots to an Attleboro charity that helps students in need. When the school's principal found out what happened, he shrugged off the idea that the students, or Tony, did anything wrong.

“We're talking about young kids here who did a good deed, and then an adult who has respect for those kids who decided to pay it forward," Principal Bill Runey said.


Others commented on Marcia's post and applauded the students and Tony for their kindness, and many dismissed the claim that there was any violation.

“What an empty life you must have to find any negativity in this. Incredible," one person wrote.

Another user commented, “Don't let the internet drama that followed take away from how kind and thoughtful Jack was - you should be a proud momma for sure!"


We think Jack and his friends did a good deed by showing their appreciation to a man they admire. Do you think they did anything wrong? You can share your thoughts in the 'Start a Conversation' section below.

Why not take Jack's lead and do something kind for someone you admire in your community? You might not buy a pair of $100 boots, but you can do something small, like bring your crossing guard a cup of coffee, or pay for your barista's lunch.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together.

How can you start something good?
The Conversation
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