BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Many Bills fans are setting their sights on the game this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, but some fans are already looking ahead to the Super Bowl.
Romello Early is only 12 years old. When he saw a friend getting made fun of, he stood up to help him. Now, the Buffalo Bills and Dion’s Dreamers are paying it back with the surprise of a lifetime.
In October, Early gave a brand new pair of shoes to a classmate who was getting picked on for wearing an old pair to school. When Early saw his classmate was getting picked on, he felt bad and immediately took action.
“To see somebody down so bad and getting put down just based off their shoes, it hurt me inside,” Early said.
He called his mother after school, asking if she could take him shoe shopping for his friend. He said she could use his allowance and return his Christmas gifts in order to pay for the shoes.
A photo of the shoe exchange went viral. The Buffalo Bills heard Early’s story, too. Early and his mother, Anita James, were invited to the Wild Card playoff game at Highmark Stadium. Little did Early know there were more surprises in store.
“Me and my mom usually leave in the third quarter so we don’t have a lot of traffic to get through. It was like a little suspicious we stayed through the whole game,” Early said. “I was like in so much shock.”
After the game, Bills offensive tackle Dion Dawkins gave Early and his mom tickets to the Super Bowl in Phoenix. James said the team coordinated the surprise with her in advance and it was hard to keep it a secret from her son. She knew he would be so excited to go.
“I was astonished. I was devastated. I sort of screamed and she said are you okay? And I said absolutely. I’m just grateful. It was a blessing,” James said.
“It’s so surprising that I can go because it’s like the biggest game of the whole season,” Early added.
Romello is hoping to watch his favorite team on Super Bowl Sunday in Phoenix. More than that, he is looking forward with plans to help even more people in the years to come. He encourages everyone to be kind to others.
“Don’t be a follower. Always be a leader and treat people the way you want to be treated because I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t like it and think about how they are feeling inside,” Early concluded.
Romello and his mom are planning even more ways to give back to the community. They want to partner with local schools to help kids who need extra support.
As for the Super Bowl, they are hoping to cheer on their hometown team.
Tara Lynch is a Buffalo native who joined the News 4 team as a reporter in 2022. She previously worked at WETM in Elmira, N.Y., a sister station of News 4. You can follow Tara on Facebook and Twitter and find more of her work here.