Actor Todd Bridges touched some hearts and minds with an anti-drug message during an assembly at a middle school in Compton, Calif.

Wearing untied athletic shoes, hot pink and teal baggy pants and a brown leather bomber jacket, he thrilled the students."I touched him with this hand and hugged him," said 11-year-old Kenisha Collins, who said she still watches Bridges on reruns of "Diff'rent Strokes."

"I hope you can learn from the mistakes I've made," Bridges told the assembly. Afterward, he said, "This helps me a lot. I hope it helps one kid out there."

Bridges has been drug-free for 18 months. He was aquitted twice on charges of shooting a narcotics dealer.