Most of us remember being picked on at one time or another when we were kids. Usually it was by big meanies on the playground who had nothing better to do than make fun of our awkward haircut or ketchup-stained clothes. Unfortunately, not every family can afford to dress their kids like celebrity fashion models, which is something that 7th grader Haley Olsen knew firsthand.
As one of seven children, Haley’s family can’t afford to buy her the trendiest clothes, shoes, and fashion accessories. Instead, the teen wears hand-me-downs, and as you can probably guess, she’s regularly teased by some of the other girls at school. It was only when a fellow classmate plotted something behind Haley’s back that she realized what she really needed was a best friend who would be there to hug her when she cried.
The time that Haley spent at Atkinson Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona was so difficult, that she often came home in tears. Sick of getting picked on for totally superficial reasons, she told Fox 10 Phoenix:
“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.”
Then one day another girl at school changed all of that for the teen. Mariah Andrew could see the diamond in the rough, and befriended Haley as soon as she saw how the relentless teasing was causing her classmate emotional harm. But, it wasn’t just friendship that Mariah offered. She had a secret plan that was going to take Haley from feeling like a victim to feeling like a queen bee!
After asking Haley what sizes shoes and clothes she wore, she hurried straight home and put together some thing for a sweet surprise. When Haley opened up a backpack filled with shoes and clothes, she told couldn’t believe her luck! The grateful teen said:
“I was jumping all over the place screaming how happy I was.”
Because of Mariah’s kindness, some other classmates at their middle school were inspired to reach out to the Haley, too. After hearing her story, Sonoran Smile Orthodontics even donated some free dental work to Haley.
As for Haley’s new best friend Mariah, she was just as tearful as Haley when she gave her the backpack full of friendship and love.
“It made me feel happy at first and the day that I gave it to her, I was trying so hard not to cry.”
The world needs more people like Mariah to be brave enough to step up and make a difference. Extending kindness and friendship costs nothing, but is worth everything to someone who really needs it. When you spread a little love, you just never know what that might do to change the world.
Mariah and Haley started out as strangers, but they’re now BFF’s for this sweet reason.
"It made me feel happy at first and the day that I gave it to her, I was trying so hard not to cry," said Mariah Andrew.
Posted by Justin Lum Fox 10 Phoenix on Saturday, February 9, 2019