Aubrey Fontenot chose to help with kindness rather than make the disturbed teen’s condition worse.
When Aubrey Fontenot’s son Jordan confided in him about being bullied at school, he was determined, like any worried parent, to put an end to it. The Houston father reported the incident to school officials, informing them about the older boy who was torturing his 8-year-old.
“My son gets daily progress reports and it seemed like the two always had issues. The bullying thing was ongoing,” Fontenot, a tattoo artist in Houston, said the Houston Chronicle.
“I asked my son about it and he told me the boy was messing with him and was too rough. I told [the school] that stuff like this can be a lot for a kid and we didn’t know what my son was going through. They said they would take care of it.”
However, not long after, another incident involving the same boy occurred, resulting in Jordan’s phone being stolen. Fontenot returned to the school’s office, upset, to speak with the principal and a police officer about the disappearance. During his interaction with them, he realized that the bully, an 11-year-old boy named Tamarion, needed assistance.
“They insinuated he was homeless. I was like ‘Oh ok I didn’t realize that, wow that makes a lot of sense,'” Fontenot told Good Morning America.
spent some time with my sons school bully yesterday .. just to dig a little deeper on”why?” .. come to find out he was being bullied for not having clean clothes n clean shoes.. I asked “why?” .. just to find out that his family is currently homeless🤴🏿♥️🙏✊🏽I had to do Something pic.twitter.com/IY29lgChqY— AUBREY .. the tattoo artist (@illuminaubrey_) October 17, 2018
Fontenot talked with Tamarion’s mother, who confirmed the family’s financial difficulties and homelessness.
“I decided I wanted to talk to the boy myself, and his mom gave me permission,” he revealed.
When Fontenot confronted Tamarion, the child acknowledged that he envied Jordan because he wore clean clothes.
“He said he was getting made fun of by the other kids. They said his shoes were cheap and his clothes were dirty,” Fontenot said.
He brought Tamarion shopping the following week to get him some new clothes.
“I took him shopping and bought him some clothes. I talked to him about morals and principles and having self-respect. He’s not much of a talker, but I got him to open up,” Fontenot explained.
“I figured I could help both him and my son, and better the situation. I told him he’s a great person and this [situation] doesn’t make him bad. I also told him that no matter what’s going on, you have to walk around with your head up and chest up. This world is tough. You can’t let what people say or do bring your self-confidence down.”
Fontenot also arranged for Tamarion and Jordan to meet.
“They each got to talk and then I said, ‘From here, this is nothing. Shake hands and from now on you are brothers and you protect each other,'” he said, adding that he wanted his son to know “every war isn’t won with your hands. It’s easy to react to first emotions but sometimes you have to outsmart a situation.”
Fontenot documented a portion of his day with the child in a video he posted on Twitter, in which he encouraged a hesitant and smiling Tamarion to sing.
“Spent some time with my son’s school bully yesterday… Just to dig a little deeper on ‘why?’… Come to find out he was being bullied for not having clean clothes n clean shoes… I asked ‘why? … Just to find out that his family is currently homeless. I had to do something,” he tweeted.
After the tweet went viral, he created a GoFundMe campaign to assist Tamarion’s family, garnering more than $31,000 to help them get back on their feet.