A Florida boy who was bullied for wearing a homemade shirt in support of a university got the last laugh after the college turned his design into an official T-shirt, his teacher revealed in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
The unnamed child, a student at Altamonte Elementary School in Altamonte Springs, wanted to represent the University of Tennessee Volunteers at his school's "College Colors" day but didn't own any of the college's apparel, his teacher Laura Snyder posted last Wednesday. Snyder said she suggested that he wear an orange shirt "to show his spirit."
"He told me every day leading up to it that he had an orange shirt that he was going to wear," she wrote. "So when the day finally arrived, he was SO EXCITED to show me his shirt."
The student even took things a step further by attaching a piece of paper with his own design of the university's logo, Snyder added. By the afternoon, however, the child's mood reportedly changed.
"After lunch, he came back to my room, put his head on his desk and was crying," the teacher explained. "Some girls at the lunch table next to his (who didn't even participate in college colors day) had made fun of his sign that he had attached to his shirt. He was DEVASTATED."
Snyder said she was disappointed by the incident and wanted to help her student out.
"I know kids can be cruel, I am aware that it’s not the fanciest sign, BUT this kid used the resources he had available to him to participate in a spirit day (one that I celebrated all week: Go Noles)!" she wrote.
By Thursday night, Snyder had received such an overwhelming number of responses on Facebook that she updated her status to share some good news — the University of Tennessee planned to send her student a care package.
"By the looks of it, he will have enough to wear every day for the rest of this school year," Snyder posted. "That’s so awesome to me!! He is definitely a Vols fan, and the Vols Nation has made sure he will be set for college colors day for quite some time!"
Last Friday, the student received the package and an additional surprise — his homemade shirt had been turned into an official design, Snyder said.
"When I told him that his design was being made into a real shirt and people wanted to wear it, his jaw dropped," she wrote. "He had a big smile on his face, walked taller, and I could tell his confidence grew today! Thank you to the UT Nation for that!!"
The child also got to pass out University of Tennessee merchandise to his classmates, Snyder said.
"When we brought the box upstairs to share with the rest of my class they were surprised as well!!" she wrote. "I had a lot of fun pulling each item out and showing it to them. They were really impressed with the notes that were included as well! Then the fun part set in.. my student got to pass out UT swag to his classmates. They were ecstatic!!"
Since Snyder shared her story last Wednesday, her post has received nearly 5,000 comments, many of which were supportive.
"This is an amazing story and so heartwarming because the negative was turned so completely into such a positive experience, not only for the bullied kid but for those who did the bullying," one person wrote. "It's so easy to just be kind to people, right? Kudos to this teacher and to UT!! WAY TO BRING IT.....!!"