Anyone who has gone through middle school can tell you that sometimes kids can be incredibly mean.
Sadly, kids are quick to point out any perceived flaw that sets someone apart or makes them different from their peers. These unkind words can leave behind permanent scars on the psyche, leading to a lifetime of feelings of inadequacy and resentment. Haley Olsen, a sixth grader at Atkinson Middle School in Phoenix, Arizona, understands these feelings all too well.
Haley comes from a home with seven kids, so by the time their needs are met there isn’t a lot left over for things like fashionable clothes or shoes. Haley has gotten used to wearing the hand-me-down clothing that her older siblings have outgrown, but when the kids at school started to call her out for her threadbare clothing she wasn’t sure where to turn.
“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 homeschooled,” Haley admits, adding that students also bullied her over her prominent front teeth, a physical trait that her family could not afford to improve.
Since every cloud has its silver lining, Haley made an important friendship early in the academic year that helped her through the taunts of her school yard bullies. Mariah Andrew and Haley soon became inseparable friends, and like all good friends would be, Mariah was irritated by the way the other kids picked on Haley for something she could do nothing about.
Without consulting with anyone, Mariah decided to take matters into her own hands. “I asked her one day for her sizes, she wrote them down on a piece of paper and brought it to me the next day,” she explained. That night she went home and cleaned out her closet, pulling out some of her favorite clothes, shoes, and a new backpack to gift her friend.
The next day, Mariah presented Haley with the upgraded wardrobe pieces, admitting she had to fight to hold back her emotions as she saw the joy on her friend’s face. “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.
“I was jumping all over the place screaming how happy I was,” Haley said. Incredibly, after Haley’s mom posted about the good deed on Facebook more people in their community opened their hearts and closets to help the family out. Sonoran Smile Orthodontics even donated some dental work to help Haley regain her smile both literally and figuratively.
Although the girls are enjoying the attention their story has achieved, Mariah says she didn’t do it for the accolades. Rather, she simply wanted to repay her friend for always being there for her, so she did what she thought a good friend would do.
We could all learn a lesson from this young lady about the power of friendship. Instead of sitting back and doing nothing while her friend was being tormented, Mariah found a way to be the good in the world. Way to go, Mariah!
Watch the video below to learn more about this sweet story, and be sure to share.
"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
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