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Birthday gift of giving
Turlock boy hands out socks, blankets to homeless
sock boy
Devin Tipton spends his 14th birthday handing out socks and blankets to those in need (Photo contributed).

Devin Tipton is like most eighth grade kids, spending his time playing basketball and football when he’s not in class at Turlock Junior High School. For his 14th birthday this week, however, he celebrated differently than his peers typically would by spending the day looking out for those in need.

When Devin’s parents asked him what he wanted for his birthday, Jan. 20, he asked his parents for help purchasing blankets and socks to pass out to the city’s homeless. The good deed was caught on camera by Tipton’s father, Michael Tipton, who was surprised by his son’s request.

“I just got him a dirt bike for Christmas, so I was like ‘Dude, you don’t want a tank of gas?” Michael laughed.

“It just melted my heart,” Devin’s mother, Brandi Johnson, added. “He’s so young, and not a lot of young kids are so giving like that.”

Devin was inspired to give back for his birthday by his cousin, whose family stays in a shelter. The recent cold and rainy weather made him realize there are others who could better benefit from a gift, rather than receiving them himself.

“I’m spoiled myself, and I didn’t want everything to go toward me,” he said. “I wanted it to go to other people, too.”

The video shows Devin, his cousin and friends delivering blankets and socks to between 10 and 15 homeless individuals in front of Ranch Burger on Lander Avenue, who shower the boy with gratitude. A few even gave him advice, Devin said.

“They were all surprised and very shocked because probably not a lot of people help them,” Devin said. “When the camera wasn’t recording, one of the guys gave me advice and told me to keep doing what I’m doing and to listen to my parents.”

Devin hopes to continue giving back to the community’s population, and the family has set up a Facebook fundraiser to fund the purchase of more blankets for future acts of service. The fundraiser can be viewed on Michael Tipton’s Facebook page.

“You never know if it could happen to you, or if someone would help you and you have to think about how you would feel if no one wanted to help you,” Devin said. “I hope by seeing what I did, people could learn to do what helps others.”

It was a very happy birthday for Devin, he said, and it was one his parents will never forget.

“He’s gonna go somewhere in life,” Brandi said. “He’s willing to give to others and they’re also giving something back to him.”