The first day of school can be difficult for an average child, but for Sean Maehrer of Allentown, Pennsylvania, it was in a whole other ballpark.
Sean is one of the 400,000 Americans living with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder brought about by the presence of a third copy of the 21st chromosome. Down syndrome results in developmental problems, physical growth delays, and intellectual disability, and can, unfortunately, lead to harassment and bullying.
Sean’s mother was very worried about the bullying Sean might face in high school, so much so that she took to Facebook to voice her concerns to family and friends. A group of unlikely heroes found Sean’s story and decided they were going to make his first day of high school one him and his family would never forget.
Sean woke up on September 1st, 2015 to get ready for his first day, only to find dozens of motorcyclists waiting outside his house to escort him to school. These motorcyclists are known locally for their support for US veterans, and despite their rough and tough appearance, they decided to act as Sean’s welcome squad to high school.
Their purpose was not just to show love and support to Sean, but to send a message to his classmates to never participate in bullying and teasing anyone, but particularly those with circumstances beyond their control.
Sean’s parents were overwhelmed with happiness and watched on with tears as the cyclists gave Sean a custom helmet and accompanied him to school. But it didn’t stop there; the cyclists, to this day, still show a tremendous amount of support to Sean by cheering him on during his soccer games, and taking pictures with him.
Bullying and fear are usually common ways that society ostracizes people with disabilities, causing them to lead oppressed lives, where they aren’t given the care and attention they deserve.
The actions of the cyclists are a testament to the strength and power of human kindness and show that offering love and protection to the less fortunate can change lives and empower even the most demoralized individuals.
We hope this story will spark kindness to those with disabilities.
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