“I told her it belonged to her.”

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Brittany Walters and Nyla Covington Homecoming
Credit: Kelley Breland Murry

It's a moment most girls dream of, but just seconds after she was crowned her high school's homecoming queen, Nyla Covington gave up her tiara.

Onlookers reported having chills as they watched the senior at Forrest County Agricultural High School in Brooklyn, Mississippi, remove the coveted crown and place it on the head of her friend and classmate Brittany Walters.

Brittany's mother, A.J. Walters, an employee at the high school, had died from cancer just hours earlier.

"All I could think about was my mom and how she wanted to be here, and then the next thing I know, Nyla walked towards me, and she hugged me," she told WDAM. "I just didn't really think anything of it, and then she started to take off her crown."

Shocked, Brittany tried to refuse the crown at first.  

"I told her it belonged to her, and then she was, like, backing away," Nyla recalled to WDAM. "I was like, 'No, come here, get it, you're your mom's queen.' I wanted her to know that. And then I hugged her."

It was a day that A.J. didn't want her daughter to miss.

"She realized that she may not be able to make it out here," Brittany's father Sean told the local news station. "She made me promise her that I was going to come out here with Brittany because she didn't want to ruin her day, her homecoming day. She said that's something she'll remember for the rest of her life."

The whole community rallied together to make sure that Brittany had her special day while A.J. was undergoing treatment. At A.J.'s request, friend Tyra Willamor Idom helped Brittany find a gown, get her hair and makeup done, and even scheduled senior portraits so she could see her in her cap and gown.

"We decided to do everything we could to get AJ home and on that field for homecoming, to watch and cheer for her baby one last time," Idom wrote on Facebook.

Speaking with Southern Living, Idom referred to the beautiful moment between Nyla and Brittany as the result of a "domino effect of kindness"

"I think it is remarkable what Nyla did but I firmly believe that moment was possible because a community came together to help get Brittany to homecoming itself," she said.

OK, who is cutting onions in here?

This story originally appeared on southernliving.com