A dad has instilled a hard-to-forget lesson in his teenage daughter after hearing she had been bullying one of her classmates.
Randy Smalls, from Moncks Corner in the US state of South Carolina, was bullied in his own youth, so felt empathy for his daughter’s seventh-grade victim at Berkeley Middle School named Ryan Reese, he told Yahoo Lifestyle.
“I say, ‘When you laugh along, you’re co-signing the bullying’,” the 35-year-old father of three said.
Turns out Mr Smalls’s wife and Ryan’s mum Richauna were friends, but neither were aware their girls had problems at school.
The families got on the phone and after speaking to Ryan himself, Mr Smalls shared his idea.
“I wanted to help Ryan so she wouldn’t have this issue anymore,” he said.
The dad had planned to buy new clothes for his 13-year-old daughter, but given her behaviour he thought the money would be better spent toward a shopping spree for Ryan.
“My daughter was upset, especially because she is into fashion. So she came with us and helped pick out Ryan’s new clothes,” Mr Smalls said.
The dad purchased pants, shirts and shoes for Ryan, but he didn’t stop there.
While his daughter attended church, Mr Smalls took Ryan to the beauty salon.
“We got her hair done and we’ll be paying for twice-a-month appointments until the end of the year,” he said.
Other local salons have donated services to ensure the girl looks styled for the next few months.
Richauna, 44, told Yahoo Lifestyle Ryan had been struggling with the deaths of her father, grandfather and aunt, and the stress had been causing non-epileptic seizures, so the shopping spree put a smile on her face.
“This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying,” she said.
Mr Smalls added: “I didn’t expect for this to get big but I’m glad if other parents [can learn from it]. My daughter learned her lesson.”
And the relationship between Ryan and Small’s daughter?
“They’re cool now,” according to Richauna.
Last year, a Texas dad also showed empathy when his eight-year-old son was being bullied at school, according to Good Morning America.
Aubrey Fontenot reached out to his son’s bully and hearing the boy was also getting picked on for his clothes, he took him shopping. The two children formed an alliance and became “brothers”.
Mr Fontenot said he taught his son that “every war isn’t won with your hands. It's easy to react to first emotions but sometimes you have to outsmart a situation”.
– Yahoo Lifestyle
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