Community April 29th, 2020

True Kindness And Keeping It Vans Authentic

My name is Max, and I’m a merchandise planner at Zappos.

I want to tell you about the amazing day a few of us Zapponians experienced with Vans and the students of Edgewood High School in West Covina, California. But first, let’s rewind to 2017 …

Back then, my friend Ali sent me a Buzzfeed article and video that went viral. In it, a class of students at Edgewood surprised their teacher, Mr. Kerby, with a brand new pair of bright red Vans Authentic Core Classics. One can tell he was really moved by this act of kindness.

I then shared the link on to the Brand Aura Department, and also to our Vans brand representative. Our friends at Vans were as stoked as we were about this video, and we hatched a plan: to get that entire class outfitted in red Authentics!


Flash forward to the day of January 13. I woke up long before the sun rose, took a short walk over to Zappos HQ, where we left Vegas at 5 a.m. sharp. We hit the road soccer mom-style, rocketing towards Los Angeles in a sweet rental minivan. Despite the lack of sleep, I think we were all pretty amped from the excitement! (A round or two of Red Bull may have contributed to the feeling, as well.)

We arrived at the home of Vans in Cypress, California, greeted by head honcho Steve Van Doren, son of the original co-founder, and the rest of our Vans pals. We packed up the shoes and some Zappos swag (our term for apparel goodies), while being entertained by a few crazy stories from Mr. Van Doren’s legendary career.

After fueling up for lunch, we headed over to Edgewood High where the principal and a few deans were ready to help make this thing happen! The deans snuck us onto campus, and the sixth-period bell rang, we covertly headed over to Mr. Kerby’s class.

We burst into the classroom, and Steve Van Doren worked his typical magic. He let the class know we are all big fans of their video, and that we wanted to reward them for their act of kindness towards their teacher.

We presented each of them with a box of Zappos-branded goodies, and then Steve announced the kicker: each student would be getting their own pair of red Authentics! Everyone cheered as we ran around asking for shoe sizes, and it was such a great feeling to see the kids tearing open the Vans box and trying on the bright red shoes!



It was happy, emotional and a moment I’ll never forget. After we joked around and took a few group pictures, we then brought out Vans sunglasses, hats and wallets so that students of the entire school could come by and get something cool. I don’t think I’ve ever met such a great and polite group of students; everyone was having fun and making us feel so at home.

I wish to thank everyone from Zappos and Vans who helped put this VANtastic day together. Finally, a big, special thanks to Mr. Kerby’s awesome class for being a living example that it is better to give than to receive … and that everyone looks cool in Vans!


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