The scars of being bullied in school can last a lifetime. Yet many children who suffer the worst from bullies never speak up, and adults often fail to notice the signs in time. That’s why one young boy in North Carolina decided to take the matter up with the most powerful entity he knew—Santa Claus.
Eight-year-old Ryan had watched his twin sister being bullied every day in school for years. While he woke up excited to go to class every morning, Amber woke up terrified of leaving the house. Matters just kept getting worse, and the adults didn’t seem to understand how much his sister was hurting.
When his mom asked them to write to Santa about what they wanted, Ryan got an idea. He had wanted remote-controlled toys for Christmas, but he decided that it was more important to see Amber smile again.
So, he asked Santa to stop the bullies in school, and to get Big Time Rush, a pop music boy band, to come to their birthday party. Amber loved the band, and it would help make her happy again. He added in the post script that Santa was invited to the party as well.
Ryan and Amber’s mom, Karen Suffern, was a single mother working hard to make ends meet. She’d asked her children to write the letters early so she could start saving for whatever they wanted for Christmas. But reading Ryan’s letter made her break down.
Karen immediately went to her daughter and asked about the bullies. She had assumed that Amber’s mood disorders made her overly sensitive to childish teasing, but her heart nearly stopped when her baby girl confessed that she had thought of killing herself to make the bullies stop.
Karen was horrified and was filled with guilt. Amber had mentioned the bullying before, but Karen hadn’t realized the extent to which those kids had demoralized her daughter.
All her life, Karen had battled with weight issues, and some part of her had become used to the thoughtless cruelty of people around her. It hadn’t occurred to Karen that, at just 8 years old, Amber could be dealing with the same problems.
Karen contacted the school and took the matter up with the principal. She also shared Ryan’s letter with friends on Facebook. While the first action got the school to pay closer attention to bullying in their classrooms, the second one had a surprising effect that no one expected!
The letter went viral online, and within days, “Good Morning America” soon came knocking on the Suffern house door to meet the twins and their mother.
After an interview with the family, the host wondered if it was possible that someone at the North Pole had read Ryan’s letter too. Then, the four members of Big Time Rush swept aside a curtain and walked up to give Amber a hug!
Capping an already surreal day, Amber’s favorite band sat around her and serenaded her on national television!
Four years later, Amber Suffern is no longer a bullied child. A lot of changes came on the heels of their sudden fame. For a while, the bullying got worse despite the school’s measures, and children were shifted to another school.
But soon after, Karen found out that Amber was also on the autism spectrum, and she bent all her energies to give Amber the tools she needed to process social equations and believe in her own worth.
Within the next few years, Amber learned to stand up for herself more and seek help when she couldn’t. Through it all, Ryan stood by her side.
As another Christmas gets closer, this brother’s love for his sister reaffirms that family can help heal all wounds and is a harbor in a chaotic, cruel world. And sometimes, if you’re good, a powerful entity, be it Santa or be it Facebook, makes your wishes come true!
Photo Credit: Video Screenshot | ABC News.
Source: Good Morning America.