Well beyond the sad beginning of this story is an outpouring of love and kindness from high school students who jumped in to help a much younger stranger who was feeling down.
A sixth-grade student at a charter school in Westminster, Colorado, was depressed and disgusted with himself because almost no one signed his class yearbook, a glossy book of photos sold to commemorate the school year.
Because he received no notes from classmates other than two teachers, the pre-teen wrote a note to himself in a page, “Hope you make some more friends, Brody Ridder.”
It tore his mother’s heart, so she posted a photo of his signature to the school’s Facebook group for parents.
She was overloaded with how much love and encouragement she received from the parents—and some of them showed their children, which inspired three grade 11 students at the local high school to devise a plan.
After fellow student Logan South informed him of the post, Simone Lightfoot described it as “soul crushing.”
“We all just started planning that the next day we were going to go sign this kid’s yearbook,” South told a Denver news team.
They gathered a large group of friends, including Joanna Cooper, and headed to The Academy of Charter Schools, despite the fact that none of them had ever met the middle schooler or his family.
“We walked in and we were like where’s Brody at? Is Brody Ridder in here? And they’re like yeah he’s in the back,” says Lightfoot. “And we’re like Brody! We’re here to sign your yearbook bud.”
They took turns writing in the book, and when they were finished, the pages contained 100 entries, including long paragraphs of encouragement, advice, and even phone numbers.
Cooper had written, “I know we don’t know you, but I know you are the coolest kid! If you ever need anything, call your senior friends!”
Seeing Brody’s newfound popularity, everyone in his class began signing the yearbook.
He may be skeptical that classmates who initially refused to sign will become his friends next year, but it no longer seems impossible.
“It just made me feel better as a person… It just makes me feel better on the inside,” he said.
His mother is glad she threw the first snowball, which triggered the avalanche. “It made me feel like there’s hope for the school, there’s hope for humanity and there’s a lot of good kids in this world.”