By: Derek Sun
12-year-old Brody Ridder went home with a nearly empty yearbook. He had only managed to obtain signatures from 2 teachers and 2 students, despite asking for a lot more. Brody decided to sign his yearbook himself, writing “[h]ope you make some more friends.”
Ridder’s mother, Cassandra Ridder told NPR on Friday on the phone. She said that her son’s message to himself was an effect of bullying that he endured at school.
"Parents need to teach their children kindness, open up that dialogue. And if you see your child being mean to somebody else, talk to them about how that could possibly make them feel. Talk to them about intent versus impact," Ridder said.
Her son’s sadness encouraged her to share a message with the parent’s Facebook group chat for the middle school. “My poor son. Doesn't seem like it's 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."
After posting the message to the school chat, Brody’s mom posted the message on her own Facebook page. Hundreds of people, including celebrities, kids, parents, and even whole companies, reached out online and in person to show support.
Among the people who saw the message and said something was Paul Rudd, the actor who played Ant Man in the popular movie ‘Ant-Man and Avengers: Endgame.’ Rudd FaceTimed Brody in June and sent him a handwritten note that said “[i]t's important to remember that even when life gets tough that things get better. There are so many people that love you and think you are the coolest kid there is — me being one of them!"
When Brody returned to school the next day, a group of older students visited him, and they all signed his yearbook. "He is just over the moon," his mother said. "He is so excited. He feels hopeful for next year. He's excited to try to put himself out there to make more friends."