I just came across this story on Reddit. It reminded me of when I used to get picked on in school. I mean REALLY picked on. Sometimes it got so bad that I went several miles out of my way to get to school or home from school just to avoid the kids that bullied me. I can't pinpoint exactly what it was about me that made kids, wherever I went (I was always "the new kid"), want to pick on me. I can say that I was definitely on the small side and desperately wanted to fit in. No doubt there were times that I may have done some pretty dorky things to garner attention from my peers to only have it backfire and bring the wrong kind of attention my way. As I watched the video associated with the story I thought back to a particular instance where I was walking from one class to another, in Junior High (probably 8th or 9th grade), with a friend who was substantially bigger than me, not to mention bigger than pretty much everyone in the school. Not "fat" or "chubby", he was just BIG, tall, strong... like he hit puberty a few years too early. Come to think of it, he may have been held back a year or two... His name was Jake, he was socially awkward, a "new kid", a little bit of a trouble maker, etc.. I probably gravitated towards these types because they were easy to befriend.
Anywho, we were walking down the hall on our way to our next class, maybe lunch, when all of the sudden I was shoved HARD from behind, enough to make me fall forward catching myself on the ground with my hands. While I was down there I remember thinking: "great... now they're going to kick me, take my backpack and throw it down the hall, and who knows what else"... bracing myself for all of what was to come... but it not happening. I got up, looking backwards, over my shoulder I saw my friend Jake turning around... now this all has happened in a matter of seconds but it was all in slow motion, or at least I remember it that way... Jake had his arm cocked back, fist balled up and was winding up for a punch. I saw his intended target, it was one of my regulars; one of the kids who made me a frequent target. Jake released one of the biggest punches I have ever seen, even to this day, landing squarely on my assailants chin knocking him out cold and sending him flying backwards onto his back into a crowd of students. Jake and I turned around and walked away, calmly, slowly, almost as if nothing had happened except for Jake shaking his hand out and massaging his knuckles a few times. I shook his hand and thanked him for standing up for me.
I hadn't asked this of Jake. He never told me he'd stick up for me. It was never mentioned again in the short time I knew him. I didn't know what his motives were. I can imagine he probably felt some sort of empathy for me. Perhaps he was the victim of bullying in some way or at some time in his life and didn't want anyone else to suffer like he did. I feel quite the same way when I see, or even just hear, about someone being bullied. I'm older, wiser, bigger, fairly well-versed in a couple very effective martial arts and would probably come unglued if I witnessed something like my friend Jake did when we were just kids. I felt like nothing could touch me that day and for a little while afterwards. As most things do, it faded and it was back to business as usual and I had to endure a lot of bullying for the rest of Jr. High and High School. I did learn, however, to befriend those kinds of guys. I don't know how, but I always knew the types. I can pick you out of a room full of people if you're one of those gentle giants willing to defend those who may not be able to defend themselves. I don't need it these days as bullying takes on different forms as you get older and out of the schoolyard environments. I still don't put up with bullying in any of its forms to this day.