Bullying has become an epidemic in the world. There are now, more than ever, seemingly endless ways to bully someone. Social media and cyberbullying has expanded the reach of bullies who now have a much larger audience. And, as we know, bullying can have a lasting effect on victims. So what happens when a bully apologizes 20 years later?
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Chad Michael Morrisette was relentlessly bullied in jr. high as he was openly gay. Threats against his life were made, he was called horrible names, and he was even assaulted. As you might imagine, it left a lasting impression on him as a young boy and he vowed that he would never return to Eagle River, Alaska.
That was until he received a Facebook message from one of his bullies, Louie Amundson, who wanted to apologize to Morrisette 20 years later.
Morrisette, who is now a West Hollywood visual designer, was caught off guard by the message. Memories of his torment soon began to resurface. “It wasn’t one guy, it was six or seven guys who would follow me in the hallways,” Morrisette recalled.
He pushed his anger and sadness from those days deep down and never realized how much it affected him until he received the message. “It unlocked something in me I didn’t realize I’d been holding onto,” Morrisette told Yahoo. “I cried a little bit. It was so moving.”
The message read: “Hey Chad, I was recently talking with my 10-year-old daughter about bullies. She asked me if I ever bullied anyone and sadly I had to say ‘yes.’ What came to mind is how shitty and mean I was to you in Jr. High. I want to apologize. If we lived in the same state I would apologize to your face. I don’t know if you remember, but I do and I am sorry.”
Morrisette was moved by his genuine apology and decided to write a message back to accept his apology. “I’m quite moved by this. Thank you and (I) accept your apology. In 20 years you are the only person to apologize for being a bully to me when we were younger. I hope you can proudly tell your daughter that you have also apologized for it and that we are good. It’s amazing what 20 years and children can do to us, no? Thank you again, and I hope you stand up to bullying anytime you see it. Have a great day! ChadMichael.”
The kind gesture didn’t stop there, though. Morrisette and Amundson agreed to meet at the same school where the torment took place. As their jr.high teacher looked on, tears running down her face, she couldn’t believe what she was seeing.
Inside Edition was there to capture the powerful moment as well. Watch the video below to experience it for yourself.