Children can sometimes be cruel to other kids, and often their actions have severe repercussions, leaving others feeling broken. When two boys ridiculed a youngster, they turned his first few weeks of high school into a nightmare.
A saying goes, "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always." Sadly, many people fail to treat others with the dignity they deserve, and hate can often result in severe pain.
High school can be one of the best times in a youngster's life, but it can also be the worst experience because of bullying. One boy's circumstances made him the victim of nasty comments, but his story had an unexpected silver lining.
[In front] Michael Todd, [Behind] Antwann Garrett and Kristopher Graham. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
BULLIED FOR MANY YEARS
In 2018, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control reported that one in five students are bullied at school. Michael Todd formed a part of this statistic, having been teased and made fun of for most of his life.
Todd's high school journey in Memphis, Tennessee, started with name-calling and intimidation. He faced oppression on every corner, and this negativity wasn't new to him. Todd shared:
"I've been bullied my entire life."
Michael Todd. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
THE BULLIES DIDN'T KNOW HIS STORY
The youngster walked around the halls of MLK College Preparatory School in 2019 with a permanent frown on his face and pain in his eyes. It wasn't easy being in his shoes, and nobody realized the personal struggles he faced.
A shocked Todd was emotional when the boys handed him something unexpected, changing his life at school forever.
The reason for Todd's bullying was linked to something that was out of his control. He longed to fix the cause of his constant ridicule, but it wasn't possible, and he couldn't change the circumstances.
Michael Todd and his classmates. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
THE REASON FOR HIS BULLYING
Todd's family wasn't financially stable, and his mom couldn't afford to buy him new clothing. The youngster dreamed about having a new set of shoes, and other items, so the bullying would stop.
Nasty kids at school made fun of his appearance and questioned why he wore the same outfit repeatedly. Todd said:
"I really don't have clothes at home. My mom can't buy clothes for me because I'm growing too fast."
Michael Todd's shoes. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
TWO STUDENTS NOTICED HIM
Antwann Garrett and Kristopher Graham were in the same class as Todd, and the boys admitted they also laughed at and mocked him.
However, the football players were different than the rest of the students. Graham shared:
"When I saw people laugh at him and bully him, I felt like I needed to do something."
Antwann Garrett and Kristopher Graham. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
THE YOUNGSTER WAS SHOCKED
Graham realized Todd's family was struggling and devised a plan that left people speechless. Graham looked in his closet for clothing he could give to Todd.
He also asked his friend to assist in the effort, and together Graham and Garrett collected enough items to fill a box. They approached Todd at the school lockers, and Graham stated:
"He wasn't smiling or anything, and I was like 'I think this is going to make you smile. We're in the same third period and I apologize for laughing at you, and I want to give you something to make it up.'"
Michael Todd and one of the football players who helped him. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
EMOTIONS RAN HIGH
A shocked Todd was emotional when the boys handed him something unexpected, changing his life at school forever. They gave him a box full of shirts, shorts, and new shoes—it meant the world to him.
"It was a weak moment for me. I was going to cry."
Antwann Garrett. | Source: youtube.com/CBS News
A LIFE-CHANGING MOMENT
Todd couldn't comprehend the kindness and said: "You guys are the best guys of my entire life." The simple gesture changed his entire experience at school, and a video of the encounter went viral online.
Garrett and Graham hoped their actions would encourage others to look out for those in need of a helping hand. Their noble deeds were praised by many and started a trend, with people sharing hashtags like #bekind and #stopbullying.
KINDNESS IS POWERFUL
Garrett and Graham's decision to apologize for bullying Todd and their dedication to making things right were worthy of applause. The look of relief and joy on Todd's face was priceless and displayed the power of being kind.
Children can make mistakes, but it shows tremendous responsibility when they realize them and try to fix their wrongdoings. It also inspires other kids to do great things. What do you think about Garrett and Graham's noble gesture?
Share this story if you believe that showing kindness and admitting your own mistakes is one of the most beautiful things in the world. Click here for another story about a bullied youngster. Kind high schoolers stepped up to help him.