Act of kindness coming full circle at Texas Tech graduation

TTU graduate recognized for viral act of kindness
Johnathan and Mitchell (Source: KCBD Video)
Johnathan and Mitchell (Source: KCBD Video)
Mitchell Marcus (Source: Facebook Video)
Mitchell Marcus (Source: Facebook Video)
Johnathon and Mitchell on The Ellen Show
Johnathon and Mitchell on The Ellen Show

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Hundreds of Texas Tech students will walk across the stage for graduation, but for one specific Red Raider, this moment started with an act of kindness that went viral back in 2013.

Five years ago, Johnathon Montanez was in the last basketball game of his high school career. His team, El Paso Franklin, was taking on their rivals, Coronado High School.

Johnathon's team was down by 10 points with 90 seconds on the clock. The coach from the rival school put in their team manager, Mitchell Marcus. It was a special moment for the team since it was Mitchell's last game, but also because Mitchell has a developmental disability.

The team tried to give Mitchell the opportunity to score, but as the clock ticked down with only 30 seconds left, Mitchell still hadn't scored. The ball went out of bounds and ended up being in Johnathon's hands, in the hands of the opposing team.

In that moment, Johnathon decided to do something that surprised everyone.

"I decided to pass it to him," Johnathon said. "I knew that he needed it right in that moment."

Mitchell scored with seconds left, winning the game. Johnathon's team lost, but he says he won something even better - a friend.

"From there it just created a friendship that's going to be lifelong," he said.

It didn't stop there. A video of Jonathan's kind gesture went viral on Facebook:

"I was just in awe," he said. "I was not expecting anything."

Johnathon got the attention of thousands, including Ellen DeGeneres and TTU's then-Chancellor, Kent Hance. Hance offered Johnathon a scholarship to Texas Tech.

Fast-forward to today, Johnathon will be graduating from Texas Tech on Saturday. He plans to continue his legacy of kindness and help people however he can.

Mitchell and Johnathon are still great friends and talk regularly.

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