'You matter': Teen reminds neighbor that she is loved in viral doorbell video
A proposed prank turned into a much-needed reminder of the power of kindness. It’s all thanks to a video doorbell, TikTok and a boy with a humongous heart.
13-year-old Jacksen Proell lives in Brainerd, a city in central Minnesota.
On July 11, he was hanging with some friends who decided they’d play a game of ding dong ditch. The old-fashioned game of knocking on random doors or ringing doorbells and then running off, is still a popular one. The group was hoping to confuse whoever answered the door.
Jacksen didn’t have it in his heart to prank anyone that day, so he took it upon himself to do the opposite.
“I didn’t want to be a part of them ding dong ditching because there's no point,” Jacksen told USA TODAY.
While hanging out with the neighborhood kids, Jacksen left a positive message on two video doorbells he saw.
"You matter, alright?” Jacksen said in the video. “There's always going to be somebody that cares about you. You're a good person, no matter what people say.”
The teenager said he just felt whoever was on the other end of that camera needed to hear the message.
Ashley Mann, one of the homeowners, was on vacation but received a notification on her phone about the video. She shared it on TikTok, and the sweet message gathered over 830,000 heart reactions.
“I was watching the video and it really struck me and it was just super powerful,” Mann told USA TODAY. “I wanted more people to see it. I wanted to spread a positive message. I wanted those words to get out because this is a young kid saying it. It's not an adult saying it.”
Watch this teen spread a kind message instead of a prank in the video below:
'She had to give up something':Woman recreates grandmother's old 1940s fashion designs
'I just wanted to say something nice'
Jacksen said he has struggled with depression before.
“I know, somewhat, how bad it can be,” he said. “But I also know that it could be a million times worse.”
When the video first made its rounds online, he and his dad wanted to fill in his mom, Carissa.
His mom initially thought something bad had happened. She was pleasantly surprised when she finally saw the video herself.
“He's such a sweet, amazing kid,” his mother shared. “It's not that I didn't expect him to leave something like that. But it was still just like, this guy right here … This is all him. He's just amazing and I was so proud.”
His mom said people have been approaching them to thank Jacksen for being “awesome.”
Mann, 28, is new to the neighborhood and hadn’t interacted with Jacksen at all prior to his video message. She reached out to Carissa after posting the video and they plan to meet sometime soon.
“It's just such a positive thing that I think is kind of addicting or like the trickle effect,” Jacksen’s mother shared. “It's helping people want to share it more and more and I think that that's really uplifting.”
Jacksen didn’t expect the video to gain as much popularity as it did. He didn’t do it for views or likes either, he said.
“I'm just rolling with what happens,” Jacksen told USA TODAY. “I'm not trying to get money or trying to be famous or something. I just wanted to say something nice, and it has blown up, so I’m just going to go with it.”
Carissa said her son is incredibly sweet, humble and quite the comedian. He’s “wise beyond his years,” she shared.
The 13-year-old likes to ride his four-wheeler and other vehicles. He likes gaming with his friends and spending time with his grandfather, Brian, who his mom said is his best friend. He often tells his mom he feels like a 17-year-old trapped in a 13-year-old’s body.
Mental health matters, neighbor says
Mann, who posted Jacksen’s video on TikTok, is a mother of two and a mental health guide at Central Lakes College.
She has started a GoFundMe. She said there are lots of mental health organizations in Brainerd and a crisis clinic just opened up. She’s hoping the money she raises can help the community even more.
“I was thinking it would be super cool if … somehow we could raise enough funds to donate it to the crisis clinic or donate it to a mental health organization in Brainerd because that way, we're giving back to the community a little bit more,” Mann said.
She encourages people to keep being kind because you never know what’s hiding behind the smiles you see each day.
“I could’ve been having the worst day of my life,” she said. “Jacksen could’ve left that message and it could’ve changed everything for me. Just watching, it changed a lot for me.”
Jacksen posted a duet of the original video on his own TikTok account, furthering his sweet reminder for all to see.
"No matter what you do, good or a bad person, somebody cares about you,” he said in his video. “Never forget that.”
And lastly, to see what other positive messages Jacksen has to share, you can visit his.