When Randy Smalls found out his teenage daughter was making fun of a classmate over her clothes and makeup in 2019, he decided to make an educational moment out of it.
Randy’s heart went out to Ryan Reese, who is a seventh-grader at Berkeley Middle School, as he himself was bullied growing up.
And while Smalls’ wife and Ryan’s mother Richauna Reese are friends, they not aware of the bullying until recently. The families then decided to hop on the phone to speak to Ryan, and Smalls asked if he could take Ryan to buy new clothes and get a makeover at the beauty salon.
Smalls used money initially intended to buy his 13-year-old daughter some new clothes, but after learning about her bullying, he decided to spend the money on Ryan instead.
“I say, ‘When you laugh along, you’re co-signing the bullying,” Smalls told Yahoo News.
“My daughter was upset, especially because she is into fashion,” he said. “So she came with us and helped pick out Ryan’s new clothes.”
And while his daughter was at church, Smalls took Ryan to the beauty salon and paid for twice-a-month appointments until the end of the year. After that, local salons decided to do their part and continue to help Ryan look stylish.
Richauna, Ryan’s mother, shared with the outlet how her daughter was struggling after the recent deaths of her father, grandfather, and aunt, as well as non-epileptic seizures caused by the stress.
And the shopping trip really turned it around for Ryan.
“I wasn’t expecting it. 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 explained.
“This is the first time I have seen a parent take such a stance on bullying,” Richauna added. Smalls was shocked by the response and says that it helped his daughter see her mistake.
“I didn’t expect for this to get big but I’m glad if other parents [can learn from it],” Smalls said. “My daughter learned her lesson.”
“As parents, we have to take responsibility for what our children do,” Smalls told ABC’s Strahan, Sara, and Keke. “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.”
And the pair seem to be getting along better because of the experience. “They’re cool now,” Richauna said. Brilliant!
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
Mamas Uncut is THE online place for moms. We cover the latest about motherhood, parenting, and entertainment as well – all with a mom-focused twist. So if you're looking for parenting advice from real parents, we have plenty of it, all for moms from moms, and also experts. Because, at the end of the day, our mission is focused solely on empowering moms and moms-to-be with the knowledge and answers they’re looking for in one safe space.