The warmth and kindness of a friend are worth just about everything. When a 7th grader from Phoenix, AZ showed love toward a friend in need, she went above and beyond with an incredible surprise.
Haley Olson desperately needed a best friend. One of seven children, the young girl didn’t always have the newest and coolest things.
Sadly, her time Atkinson Middle School has been hard on her. Olson was the target of bullies who made fun of her for not having “trendy clothes.”
“I always came home crying and stuff to my parents saying how I didn’t want to go to school anymore, I wanted to be home schooled,” Olson told the media.
One girl intervened and changed everything for her. Mariah Andrew became friends with Olson and soon saw what the bullying was doing to the poor girl.
So, Andrew made the decision that she wouldn’t stand by any longer and allow Olson to be a victim. She asked Olson for her sizes, then went home and gathered some items for a surprise.
Andrew created a gift basket of clothes, shoes and a backpack. “I was jumping all over the place screaming how happy I was,” Olson said.
Because of Andrew’s compassion, others have been inspired to reach out to Olson as well. Sonoran Smile Orthodontics donated free dental work, according to sources.
“It made me feel happy at first and the day that I gave it to her, I was trying so hard not to cry,” Andrew stated.
Andrew is thankful to have Olson by her side. “Being there whenever I needed her like her being a good friend when times were hard at school,” she said.
According to Stop Bullying Now, “60% of middle school students say that they have been bullied,” and “160,000 students stay home from school every day due to bullying.”
Those numbers are too high. We need more young people like Mariah Andrew to be the difference — to make a difference for other students.
We as parents need to instill in our children kindness and compassion. Extending kindness through means of friendship and inclusion can make all the difference.
And maybe, just maybe, those bullies will become aware of that kindness and want to spread a little love too. You never know what a little love might do to change the world.