Mother gets second chance at prom thanks to special date

PONTIAC, Mich. -- For most of the seniors at Waterford Kettering High School outside Detroit, prom is optional -- but not for Danotiss Smith. Every time he even suggested not going, he got a tearful lecture from his mom, Belinda Smith, who told him he was going to do everything that she wasn't able to do when she was younger.

Belinda grew up dirt poor. Her family couldn't afford to send her to prom.

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Danotiss Smith
CBS News

"Every day I came home from high school I cried because I wanted to go," said Belinda.

That's why she vowed Danotiss would have the opportunity. And that's why she was so disappointed when it seemed like he wasn't going to take it. Every time she asked him about prom he was evasive -- until about a month ago, when he finally came clean.

Danotiss asked Belinda if she wanted to go to prom with him. She, of course, said yes.

"I said, 'heck yeah boy, when are we going to start looking for stuff,'" said Belinda.

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Belinda Smith
CBS News

Danotiss helped his mom with every step -- and on prom day, he got in the car he borrowed from his aunt, drove around the block, and got back out to pick her up -- corsage and all -- just like the date she always dreamed of.

"She was looking good," said Danotiss. "She was beautiful. She was gorgeous."

The kid really did do it up right and Belinda was so thrilled she had to tell her husband: "I love you, but you know what? I think your son just outdid you."

Of course, there are disadvantages to bringing your mom to prom, like getting parented on the dance floor and being told to "move your hips."

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Danotiss Smith, left, with his prom date and mother, Belinda Smith
Jenny Lynn Photography

But that's the truly amazing thing about Danotiss -- he didn't care. On a night when most kids want to be as far away from their parents as possible, he had the courage -- and you know it took courage -- to make this her moment.

"Now she can say she went to prom," said Danotiss.

"Put a smile on my face and an imprint in my heart, that's going to last me a lifetime," said Belinda.

Whoever said you're only young once obviously never had a son who believed in second chances.

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  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.