Teen gifted new bike after walking 6 miles to graduation; family receives minivan

A St. Louis teenager has received an outpouring of support after walking nearly two hours to his graduation. (Source: KMOV)
Published: Jun. 3, 2023 at 8:18 PM EDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV/Gray News) - A teenager in Missouri who walked miles to his eighth-grade graduation now has two new ways to get around.

KMOV reports that 14-year-old Xavier Jones was gifted a $5,000 electric bike during a celebrity basketball game on Friday and his family also received a $40,000 minivan.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Xavier said.

His grandfather added, “This means a whole lot. I don’t know what to say. I’m so thankful.”

Xavier’s story made headlines earlier this week as he walked for more than two hours to make it to his graduation.

And his commitment secured him a full-ride scholarship to Harris-Stowe State University.

“If you want something done, you got to go ahead and do it yourself,” Xavier said.

After watching Xavier’s story, current Miami Dolphins player Terron Armstead arranged for the special surprises to happen.

“We hear a story like Xavier. It’s only right,” Armstead said. “Follow Xavier’s example. He’s a leader whether he wanted to be or not. His story is inspiring. It’s motivating. That’s what leaders do.”

Dr. Latonia Collins Smith, president of Harris-Stowe State University, said Xavier’s story is a reminder of the obstacles many students face.

“Many of our students come with a story, and many of our students come with environmental barriers they have overcome,” Smith said. “I’ve learned a lot from Xavier. Even on your worst day, keep pressing forward.”