▶ Watch Video: Man returns to college thanks to “random acts of kindness”

Working at a vehicle inspection site in Katy, Texas, was never part of Jaylan Gray’s plan. He’d dreamed of being a park ranger but had to quit college and give up on that dream after his mother died and his little brother, Julian, became his sole priority. 

“He’s my reason,” Gray said when he spoke to CBS News last year. “From that day on, I swore – at all costs – I’m protecting him.” 

But things soon went from bad to unbearable. 

Their mother had left the brothers her house, but when the big freeze hit Texas in 2021, the pipes burst and ruined everything. The contractor Gray hired to fix it took their life savings, leaving the boys to live with their last surviving relative. 

Soon, a non-profit called Katy Responds caught wind of their situation. The group fixes up houses after natural disasters, and have helped more than a hundred families. Few seemed more worthy than the Gray brothers. 

Ron Peters said the group felt they “had to” help the boys, saying their situation “breaks your heart.” 

“They had no idea people would want to jump in and help them,” Peters said. 

Gray said he was “overwhelmed” by the support from the group. Thanks to an army of donors and volunteers, their home was fixed up. 

Since their story was first told last year, things have only gotten better for the boys. Viewers pitched in and are now paying for Gray to go back to college, “all expenses paid,” to become a park ranger. It’s a “complete 180” from their prior situation, Gray said. 

“Just random acts of kindness, helping me get there,” he said.