When Randy Smalls found out that his daughter, Re’Onna, was in a group of students who bullied a girl at school, he couldn’t bear to sit back and do nothing about it.
As someone all-too-familiar with being bullied, he felt especially convicted to make it up to Ryan Reese, the girl who was getting picked on. And in doing so, he also found a way to teach his own daughter a lesson.
Rather than taking his then-13-year-old daughter on a shopping spree, he decided to help Ryan buy brand new clothes instead. Randy came up with this idea while he and his wife, who just so happened to be friends with Ryan’s mom, were on the phone apologizing to her.
“My daughter was upset, especially because she is into fashion,” Randy said. “So she came with us and helped pick out Ryan’s new clothes.”
As upset as Re’Onna was at first, the more time she spent with Ryan, the more she began to truly understand the importance of not bullying. Not only because it’s not okay to intentionally hurt others but because you never know what someone else is going through.
For Ryan, that included losing her dad, grandpa, and aunt in a short span of time. The stress from these losses had become so overwhelming that she started to have non-epileptic seizures.
That’s why, when Randy offered such a kind gesture, Ryan was left speechless.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Ryan said. “I just started to cry. It (the bullying) was really sad for me because I had lost my grandpa, father, and aunt, and it really took me deep down in my depression.”
Ryan’s mom, Richauna Reese, was also very impressed with this gesture.
“This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying,” Richauna added.
In addition to buying lots of new clothes, Randy also took the then-13-year-old to get her hair done at a salon — he even committed to paying for the twice-a-month upkeep of her new ‘do until the end of the year!
Best of all, Randy’s generosity became contagious. Several local salons also offered to help keep her looking stylish in the months that followed.
“I didn’t expect for this to get big but I’m glad if other parents (can learn from it),” Randy said while appearing on “Strahan, Sara and Keke” in 2019. “My daughter learned her lesson.”
Re’Onna and Ryan started off on the wrong foot, but after Randy followed through on his unconventional life lesson, Richauna says that “they’re cool now.”
All of this took place in 2019, but the two of them remained close afterward. They were even gifted free dresses for a father-daughter Valentine’s Day Dance in 2020 that they picked out together! Ryan chose a purple and black one in honor of her late aunt.
“As parents, we have to take responsibility for what our children do,” Randy said. “We can teach our children, but when they go and are around other children they can veer off a little bit. When situations like this happen, we have to take action and be the parent and not the friend.”
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