The rubber soles of Adam Flowers' tattered black tennis shoes had begun to separate after two years of wear and tear.
Adam, a 9-year-old who attends Vineville Academy, was out on the playground of his apartment complex about 5 p.m. Saturday when a group of teenagers approached him.
"People were picking on me about my old shoes," he said. "They kept saying, 'What are those?'"
Adam and his two older brothers are being raised by their grandmother, 63-year-old Carolyn Taylor.
"(The teens) have been bothering him for a while, but he's not a complainer about people messing with him," Taylor said. "He tries to deal with it as much as he can."
This time, a 16-year-old girl reportedly held Adam in a headlock in front of Taylor's apartment "and refused to let him go when I yelled over the patio," Taylor said. "I said, 'I'm calling police on you all.' He's a little boy, and they were big teenagers."
The responding officer, Bibb County sheriff's deputy Trinicholas Carswell, paid the girl's parents a visit to warn them of their daughter's behavior.
While Carswell was in the neighborhood, "she saw (Adam's) shoes and asked me, 'What size shoe does he wear?' and I said, 'Seven.' She said, 'I want to buy him some shoes. ... He needs some shoes, doesn't he?" Taylor said.
A couple hours later, Carswell returned to Taylor's apartment with deputies Jeff Howell and Tim Jones. The three handed Adam a new pair of Nike Air Jordans.
"He saw the shoes and it was just pandemonium after that," Taylor said. "He was just super excited. ... I was just so overwhelmed and surprised and thankful that somebody cared."
Adam has cleaned his new shoes two or three times since he first wore them. He even slept with them at the end of his bed Sunday night, Taylor said. The old shoes were trashed.
"People give police all kinds of rap, (but) all the time it's not so," Taylor said. "They're still people doing their job. I want everybody to know these people are compassionate. They're people with hearts."
To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4334 or follow her on Twitter @Lauraecor.