Hundreds of bikers in Nova Scotia, Canada helped give a 10-year-old a ride to school on Wednesday (21 June) he will surely never forget. The band of local bikers rode along with Xander Rose to send a message to his bullies: We've got his back.
Xander's mother, Katie Laybolt, told CTV News that her son has been bullied in school for years. The fourth grader has reportedly been mocked for his weight and the leather biker vests he wears, Huffington Post reported.
Laybolt said her son also endured racial slurs and "disgustingly" sexual comments. One classmate went as far as threatening to kill the boy with a gun. "It's been crazy. He's gotten jumped on the bus, he's had clothing ripped off his back. He's been told to go die in a hole," she said.
According to the Post, Laybolt tried to ease the bullying by reaching out to Xander's school and its board, the Children's Aid Society of Cape Breton-Victoria and the parents of other students. Nothing seemed to work and the abuse only intensified.
Laybolt then contacted Defenders of Children, an Arizona-based children's advocacy nonprofit that offers support to young victims of violence and bullying. The group quickly responded and got to work.
Defenders of Children took to social media to share Xander's story. The group described the boy as a "future biker" and asked if motorcyclists in the Nova Scotia area would "give him a ride to school some time, in numbers, as a sign to kids and teachers that he's much loved and has a very protective family on two wheels."
Local biker groups were quick to step up to the task, with different bike clubs like Cape Breton Bike Rally putting a call out on Facebook and in the biking community, CTV News reported. Hundreds of bikers volunteered to pick Xander up at home and take him to school Wednesday morning.
After the empowering trip to school, Laybolt took to Facebook to thank everyone who helped her son. "A huge thank you to the biker community in CB and further for hearing our story and giving us the strength needed in numbers to show these children people are listening, what they are forced to suffer is not okay and they have endless support so they can feel confident in coming forward," she wrote.
"I'm hoping he knows, from now on, if somebody bullies him, he's got somebody to go to," Mike Basso from the Cape Breton Bike Rally said. "He can look on the corner on any street. He's going to find a leather vest. He's now one of our brothers."