NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — TikToker Tyler Williams used his following on social media to collect tens of thousands of dollars for a pair of brothers who were living out of their car to help them get back on their feet in July 2021.
Williams, a Nashville resident, said he was washing his hands in a bar restroom when he noticed the bathroom attendant getting emotional. Someone had tipped the man $200.
Realizing how much that money meant to him, Williams decided to tip the man as well.
“He [Adrian] kind of opened up and told us a story about how, you know, during in December, him and his brother were living at home with their mom. And unfortunately, unexpectedly, she had passed away. And after that, they couldn't afford to pay the bills for their home that they were living in and him and his brother were living in his brother were sleeping in their car for the past like seven months,” recounted Williams.
When he got home, Williams decided to post about the man, Adrian, and his brother, Javon, on his TikTok account asking his followers to help out if they were compelled.
Traditionally, William’s content on his social platforms trends light-hearted. “My whole platform is to really kind of celebrate normalcy,” explained Williams. So, the post about the brothers was very irregular.
“When I woke up the next morning, it was $10,000 in my Venmo account for them, and within a day. We got $17,000, plus for those two!” said Williams. “I was just really blown away by that, by all of that. It was really heartwarming it took it took a couple of days to really sink in and everything, and be able to process it but it was really, it was a really incredible thing to see how many good people there are still in this world.”
Several days later, Williams invited the brothers over for dinner and surprised them with the money. Click here to watch their reaction.
“This all happened because I saw someone else, perform a random act of kindness, and you never know who's around or who you can inspire by doing something good for people,” said Williams.
The outpouring of support has continued as more strangers continue to donate on a GoFundMe page.
Williams said he is in touch with the brothers almost daily as he continues to help them navigate some of their finances such as simply helping them set up bank accounts and look for an apartment. Both Adrian, 23, and Javon, 20, now have full-time jobs and are on the path to renting their own apartment.
As he reflected back on the past few weeks, Williams said he hopes people do not see him as the "hero."
“All I did was make a video and share a story, right? I'm not the one that gives credit to at all, it's, you know, over 1,200 plus people that wanted to donate and help them. Over 1,200 people strangers cared about a stranger about these people they didn't know, and trusted me, a person they don't know personally with their money to do the right thing with it,” said Williams.
He hopes what happened will inspire others with influence on the internet to use their following to do good when the opportunity presents itself.
“Influencers, should really stop and smell the roses a little bit and understand that and understand that their, their like, their social influence that they have can be used to do really really good things in the world,” said Williams.