When he was in the second grade, Stefun Darts promised to pay off his grandparents’ mortgage. Sixteen years later he handed them a check.
The 24-year-old college student wrote out his very first check and handed it to the grandparents who raised him. The $15,000 was enough to pay off their mortgage and pay for a trip to the Bahamas to celebrate.
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“I had to sacrifice a lot. Friendships, relationships, going around and partying,” he told TODAY.
But Darts, who presented the check to his grandparents during a surprise party thrown by his family, said he was happy to work and make money, or stay home to save it, to help his grandparents who took him in at a young age.
“I promised God in the second grade I would pay off you guys’ house and help you retire. A promise I would never break. The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen, nor touched… but are felt by the heart. Even with this, I could never repay you for what you’ve done for me,” Darts wrote on Facebook.
Darts worked various jobs to save money, including at a grocery store, at a call center, and at Pizza Hut. He also earned licenses to sell life insurance and real estate. He saved money by being frugal, rarely buying clothes and eating at home whenever possible.
He currently works at Exxon, as a material handler, and, on the side, as a loan officer. He’s also studying applied science at San Jacinto, a community college outside of Houston, while working on Caring Heart Youth, a nonprofit he helped create that provides supplies to poor children and teens.
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Darts said he has lost some friends and girls over his choice to stay home more often than go out, but this was more important to him.
“My grandparents aren’t struggling by any means but why are they living to pay bills? That’s not the way of life I want them to have. If I can do anything, with every bone in my body, I will sacrifice because I don’t know how long they have on this earth. No one is guaranteed. I will sacrifice that fun, because that fun is temporary,” Darts told TODAY.
Although his grandparents, a corrections officer and a U.S. Postal Service employee, aren’t planning to retire despite their grandson’s gift, Darts is happy they can travel and live life more now that they’re mortgage free.
“I couldn’t believe it. To have a grandson like that is a blessing,” Darts’ grandmother, Marilyn Roberts said to KHOU.
Family truly does come first for Stefun Darts.