Getting your yearbook signed is, for many kids, a fun end-of-year ritual that preserves memories. But for 12-year-old Brody Ridder, it did not start out as a happy occasion. When the sixth grader from Westminster, Colorado, was picked up by his mother, she noticed that he didn't have his usual cheerful disposition. Remembering that she'd received an email about school yearbooks being delivered that day, she asked him if he'd gotten a lot of his friends to sign his book. And that's when he began to cry.
Except for notes by two teachers, the pages were almost blank. It turns out that many of the kids in class refused to sign Brody's yearbook when he asked. “A couple of his classmates jotted down their names—but there were no messages,” shared his mother Cassandra. “There was nothing about how smart, funny and awesome he is.”
Instead, Brody had signed his yearbook himself. He left a heartbreaking message that read, “I hope you make some more friends.”
Devastated for her son, Cassandra posted Brody's empty yearbook to a Facebook page for parents from the school. Along with the photo, she wrote, “My poor son. Doesn’t seem like things are getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook. Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it. So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”
Cassandra says that Brody, who is interested in chess, fencing, and dinosaurs, is misunderstood by his classmates, who can't relate to his interests. When he comes home, he reports to his mom that he's made fun of because his “ears stick out” and because he's thin. He sits alone at lunch and plays by himself at recess. But after her Facebook message, it looks like Brody may not be sitting alone for long.
One day after posting the message, Cassandra got an incredible text message from Brody. It said, “Facebook this,” alongside a picture of his yearbook filled with messages and signatures.
After Cassandra's messages, older kids took it upon themselves to visit Brody. He had messages from kids in junior high and high school. They filled the pages with messages that told him “you are so loved, don't listen to kids who tell you different” and “you're worth it and you matter.” Some even left their phone numbers so that Brody could reach out to them.
Brody told his mom, “This is the best day ever.” And unsurprisingly, the same kids who had refused to sign his yearbook were suddenly in line to leave him a message. Now, he's looking forward to seventh grade and enjoying school with all of his new friends.
12-year-old Brody Ridder was devastated when his classmates wouldn't sign his yearbook.
But when older kids came to visit and sign it instead, he was left with a whole new group of friends.
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