WEST HAVEN, Utah – A Utah teen devised a Valentine’s Day plan to gift every girl in his school a sweet reminder that they are “special and unique.”
Tryston Brown, 14, was first inspired a couple of weeks ago when thinking up what he could do to boost his female friend’s experiences on the special holiday, his mother, Anissa Brown, told ABC News.
From there, his plan transformed into a grand plot to ensure every girl in his junior high school felt loved on Valentine’s Day.
“It became more and more about him not wanting to leave anyone out,” Brown said.
The two have had “numerous conversations” on what a difficult time junior high is for teen girls, especially with the unrealistic body expectations that can be promoted on social media, Brown said. Tryston, who has had struggled with depression in the past, has recently been researching the mental health condition and noticed these issues, she added.
“He’s just very attuned to that emotion,” Brown said.
Wanting to help girls feel more appreciated on Valentine’s Day, Tryston went to the principal’s office to how many girls were enrolled at his school, Rocky Mountain Jr. High School in West Haven.
“He came home and said, ‘I want to buy 537 chocolates,'” Brown said.
Impressed with her son’s generosity, Brown reached out to a Hershey distribution factory in nearby Ogden and inquired about the best place to buy chocolates in bulk.
When she shared what Tryston wanted to do with all that chocolate, the woman who Brown spoke to mentioned that she had a daughter in 8th grade who struggles from depression herself and offered to gift the chocolates to them for free.
On Monday, Brown and Tryston picked up the complementary chocolate and even received help from factory general manager Ed Ehrenberger to help load the several boxes of candy into the car, Brown said.
That night, Tryston stayed up until 2 a.m. to prepare the treats, he said.
“He couldn’t sleep,” Brown said. “It was like Christmas morning for him.”
On Valentine’s morning, Tryston spent the first period of classes handing out the chocolates, with the help of school aides he said. Throughout the day, his grateful classmates thanked him. He told them, “It makes me happy to see you guys smiling.”
Rocky Mountain Jr. High School Principal Nicole Meibos said she noticed a positive reaction from her female students after Tryston’s thoughtful gesture. She said she saw the faces of several girls light up and even overheard girls in the hallway talking about how “sweet” it was and “how good that made them feel.”
“I can’t tell you how amazing it was for these young ladies,” Meibos said, adding that she was “that girl” in junior high who never received a flower. “They’re at such a vulnerable age right now.”
Meibos even received an email from a mother whose daughter had been dreading coming to school on Valentine’s Day for a week because she “didn’t want to feel bad” if she didn’t get anything.
“I’m in tears…” the mother wrote, according to Meibos. “He doesn’t realize the impact he’s made on my daughter.”
Tryston hopes his good deed starts a “chain reaction” to inspire others.
“It means the world to me to know I’m doing the right thing,” he said.
The teen has already started plotting his next Valentine’s Day surprise.
“Maybe flowers next year,” he said.