Students Ban Together to Replace Boy's Stolen Nintendo He Got from Late Grandmother

Shawn Hawkins burst into tears when Shawna Cantiliano presented him with a new Nintendo 3DS XL

A California high school student got the surprise of a lifetime last week after the beloved Nintendo he got from his late grandmother was stolen.

Shawn Hawkins, a student at Antioch High School in California, enlisted the help of the public to find the gaming console, writing on one of the school’s white boards that the Nintendo was very special to him.

“He asked for it back and said, who ever took it, he wouldn’t tell anyone,” Shawna Cantiliano, 16, tells PEOPLE. “So, I had the idea to raise donations and just get him a new one since no one had come forward to bring it back.”

Cantiliano and her friend Piper collected donations to buy the new 3DS XL and caught the attention of a history teacher.

Shawna Cantiliano

“My teacher said she’d buy it!,” Cantiliano says. “She said to raise what ever donations I can and she’d just pay the difference.”

The teacher bought the game and Cantiliano got to present it to Hawkins last Thursday. Video footage of the meet-up showed a tearful encounter. Hawkins burst into tears and embraced Cantiliano, saying, ‘Thank you! Thank you!’ ”

“We gave it to him and he started crying, saying, ‘Oh, you’re an angel from God!’ ” the teen tells PEOPLE.

Courtesy Shawna Cantiliano

The footage has amassed more than 500,000 views on Facebook and has been shared more than 10,000 times. In her own post on the social media site, Cantiliano wrote that she and her friend “were just trying to do a selfless act.”

“I’m all kinds of shook and so happy that all of you are so moved by our actions,” she wrote

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