Zach’s M&Ms melt your heart, not in your hands

Published: Sep. 13, 2019 at 10:46 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - On Monday as part of the homecoming festivities at West Lincoln Attendance Center, kids dress up like their favorite superhero. It kicked off a week of dress-up days to get everyone in the school pumped up for the year’s most exciting football game.

Zachary Johnston, a super-shy first-grader, dressed like The Flash. His mom, Kayla Johnston, said he was both excited and nervous about wearing his costume -- It even had the padded muscles to help Zach look just a little more like The Flash, who is, after all, a grownup and has had more time in the gym.

When he walked into class though, some of the kids pointed and laughed at his costume. Zach was upset. His best friend Jase Smith told him to ignore those kids, don’t let them get to you... But Zach sadly took his costume off.

Jase went home and told his mom, Lacy Smith, that he was sad because Zach was sad.

“I immediately reached out to Kayla to check on Zach because I didn’t want it to ruin his week,” Smith said.

She wasn’t the only mom that reached out to Johnston. Some of Zach’s other friends had seen how upset he was and were also worried about him.

Zachary couldn’t get up the courage to wear another costume. He tried. He took a shot at “Twister Day," but halfway to school he ripped his costume off, telling Johnston he’d wear it at home.

But “Twin Day” was coming up. The mothers of four of his friends asked if Zach would be their children’s twins for “Twin Day.” They decided to be M&Ms, which seemed to be a good plan since there can be lots of M&Ms, and they’re all twins.

But there was a surprise coming for both Zach and his mother. A friend of Johnston’s had posted on Facebook and blocked Johnston from the post. She asked everyone to let her know if their child would like to be an M&M too.

"As soon as we pulled up to the fire station and we saw everyone, Zach immediately knew he recognized faces and he said, ‘Mama, do you see all my friends?’” Johnston said.

There weren’t just first graders. There were kids in several different grades that decided to be M&Ms.

Jeremy Johnson, a coach and teacher, had 7th graders in his class that dressed as M&Ms too. At first, he thought it was just a costume.

“When I heard what it was for, I was touched, honestly," Johnson said. "Just how close knit this school can be, it definitely touched my heart.”

Jase gets a smile on his face when you ask him about Zachary. Though he’s a man of few words just like Zach, he says there are multiple reasons his friend is special.

“He’s kind and nice," he said.

So Zach’s week started out a little rough. It’s never fun to get laughed at, Johnston said. But by the end of the week, the brave little first-grade Flash found out he had a lot more friends than he thought.

Some he didn’t even know.

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