Ashton Kutcher arrives at the Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles in 2017. (Photo: Dan MacMedan/USA TODAY)
When Monica Gutierrez’s son came home from cross country practice concerned about an injured teammate, she knew they needed to help.
Her eighth grader wanted to give his old shoes to his friend, who was hurt while running in Converse sneakers. But the two boys don’t wear the same shoe size, and Gutierrez doesn’t have the means to buy a new pair.
So she decided to text Ashton Kutcher.
The actor from “That ’70s Show” and “The Ranch” had posted his phone number on Instagram, encouraging his 3.9 million followers to reach out.
“I saw the post Ashton Kutcher had saying ‘text me’ with his phone number,” Gutierrez said, whose son, Oswaldo Briones, attends IDEA Tres Lagos in southern Texas.
“So, I gave it a shot and tried to text because I had been following for so long and I know all the work he has been doing for kids.”
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She sent the text and received an auto response from community.com, a service that connects community leaders and their audiences, according to the site.
Gutierrez explained what was going on: Her son’s middle school cross country team was headed to regionals on Oct. 22 and the runners needed new shoes — but couldn’t afford it.
Then, she got a response. If she contacted Kutcher’s representative, Matt Kulina, he would be able to get what the team needed.
Kutcher is helping to launch the “Community” app, where he receives messages and decides which ones to be involved with, Kulina explained to USA TODAY.
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When things resonate with Kutcher, he contacts Kulina’s company Nxstla. “We’ll work with Ashton on different projects, he’ll reach out when he needs help. It’s Nxstlab’s job to “make it happen,” Kulina said.
The idea, Kulina said, is to use social media for good and the company has been working with Kutcher for a few years, as well as with other celebrities, including Jimmy Fallon.
Even when Gutierrez was talking to Kulina, she still hadn’t told anyone because she wasn’t sure whether what was happening was real.
“I told (Kulina) how well the kids were doing (during the season) and sent pictures of the updates,” she said.
But with Kulina’s assistance, Kutcher said he would send the shoes.
And sure enough, six pairs of running shoes were delivered that week, two days before the regional meet, with another pair on the way. (It was a bit tough, she explained, for them to find a pair of size 13 shoes on short notice.)
When she found the shoes outside her apartment, Gutierrez was with one of the other team moms.
“I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “I told her and she was like, ‘nah you’re joking.’ We didn’t believe it actually until that day.”
The IDEA Tres Lagos cross country team. (Photo: Monica Gutierrez)
The team went on to win regionals and then took third place at the state level.
Gutierrez said the shoes Kutcher sent will be put to use in the track season, which is fast approaching.
As for the team’s reaction, the kids were also excited about the shoes, though skeptical because most of them didn’t know who Kutcher was at first. “They were like ‘what?” she said. “Did he really do this for us?”
“It’s something I did out of love and it happened,” Gutierrez said. “And I still can’t believe it. We are really grateful for everything he’s done.”
Follow Morgan Hines on Twitter: @MorganEmHines.
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