"My mom would have done the same thing if she was in Nyla's shoes, and I just felt my mom's presence there," the grieving teen shared.
A heartwarming story of friendship and kindness going viral across social media has got netizens praising a Mississippi homecoming queen's grace and selflessness. In a moment described by many as "selfless," "emotional," and unforgettable, Forrest County Agricultural High School senior Nyla Covington gave up her crown moments after being crowned homecoming queen. According to WLOX, the teen gave the crown to another student, Brittany Walters, who lost her mother to cancer earlier that same day. "All I could think about was my mom and how she wanted to be here, and then the next thing I know, Nyla walked towards me, and she hugged me," said Brittany.
"I just didn't really think anything of it, and then she started to take off her crown," she added. Recounting the emotional conversation she shared with her friend as she placed the crown on Brittany's head, Nyla said: "I told her it belonged to her, and then she was, like, backing away. I was like, 'No, come here, get it, you're your mom's queen.' I wanted her to know that. and then I hugged her." Brittany reportedly lost her mother, A.J. Walters, to cancer just hours before the homecoming event.
"My mom would have done the same thing if she was in Nyla's shoes, and I just felt my mom's presence there," Brittany explained. "I can see my mom through Nyla. They have the same exact caring, giving spirit, and it's really fulfilling." Her father, Sean Walters, revealed that although it was an emotional and difficult day for the family, his wife never wanted Brittany to miss the special day. "She realized that she may not be able to make it out here," he said. "She made me promise her that I was going to come out here with Brittany because she didn’t want to ruin her day, her homecoming day."
"She said that's something she'll remember for the rest of her life," he added. Walters said his wife was a "giving person" who "tried to help every person she'd come in contact with." Speaking of Nyla's kind gesture toward his daughter at homecoming, he said: "Obviously, she has great parents that raised her well, and that's hard to find sometimes nowadays, and that speaks a lot to them, too." As A.J. was an administrative assistant at the high school and was very involved in her daughter's schools, the vacuum left by her death is also felt by school officials and the entire community.
"Her spirit is what made her special," said Will Wheat, principal at FCAHS. "Even on the hardest days, even battling cancer, she always had a smile on her face." He added that he hopes A.J.'s kindness and Nyla's beautiful gesture will encourage others to follow their example. "We hope that Nyla's selfless act will be a light for the rest of society," Wheat said. "So, we're very proud of her and her giving nature."
Nyla also remembered A.J. with a constant smile. "She's like the person that I want everybody to be like, honestly, cause she just smiled," the teen shared. Meanwhile, Brittany believes her mom is watching over her and making an impact in people's lives even after her death. "I feel like this is her way of still touching people, cause that's what she lived her whole life around was trying to help and touch people and this is her way of still doing it." Nyla and Brittany's story touched countless hearts on social media after photos of their unforgettable homecoming exchange were shared on Facebook by other parents.
"It's been a whirlwind, bittersweet day. I have a huge, photo-filled post coming up with pictures and videos of my girl, but first… our Aggie family lost an amazing soul today. I've known A.j. Nichols-Walters for about 15 years, ever since Kaylee and Brittany danced together as toddlers. Everyone who knew her, loved her. She left this world this morning. Tonight was Aggie Homecoming and her daughter, Brittany Walters, was a senior maid," wrote a parent named Erica N Brandon Owens. "There's nothing AJ would have wanted more than for Brittany to walk that field tonight with Sean, and with the support of her amazing village, that's what she did. Another senior maid, Nyla Covington, was crowned Homecoming Queen. I watched as she asked Principal Wheat and Dr. Boone if she could pass her crown to Brittany, and I don't even remember recording the moment through the tears, but here y'all go. So much class and a moment no one will ever forget."