As the school bell rang out last Tuesday morning at DeKalb Middle School in Indiana, 11-year-old Phil Mick confidently walked down the halls to his first class of the day. And thanks to 50 bikers who escorted him to his first day of middle school, Phil was able to walk to class free of fear and apprehension for the first time in over two years.
Phil, like 77% of all students, is a victim of bullying. More than three in four children experience some form of bullying during their school years. Whether mental, verbal, or physical, this type of damaging aggression has become incredibly common. And like countless others, Phil was being bullied because of his weight.
Phil’s mother, Tammy Mick, realized what was happening when bruises began to show up on the body of her young son. In addition to the name calling and body-shaming that he was experiencing, Phil was also being punched by other kids. She eventually learned that Phil had even been contemplating suicide.
It wasn’t until last Christmas when the family was attending an event at a local motorcycle shop for those who couldn’t afford their own holiday celebration that Tammy shared what was happening to her son. The man she happened to be speaking with was motorcyclist Brent Warfield of KDZ Motorcycle Sales & Service. Tammy was surprised to hear that Brent too had been a victim of bullying in his younger years. So Brent decided to take a stand for Phil in one of the coolest ways that any boy could ask for. Brent gathered together a group of “big-hearted biker friends” who planned to provide Phil with a ride escort on his first of middle school.
As August 1st drew closer, Brent posted on his Facebook to remind the group of the upcoming escort. He also took Phil to the mall to go back-to-school shopping for new clothes and school supplies. The bikers met up at a local restaurant at 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning. By the time they were ready to leave, the parking lot was spilling over with motorcycles. Bikers had traveled from hours away, some even taking the day off from work, to help escort Phil to school.
From the back of an intimidating Harley, Phil made an entrance that no one could miss. The collective roar of 50 motorcycle engines reverberated off the walls of the middle school as Phil and his escort pulled into the parking lot. When Phil walked into his new school, 50 bikers clad in leather jackets walked in with him, making a statement that no one would miss.
Phil’s first motorcycle ride was one that he’ll never forget. And thanks to the kindness of 50 strangers who took the time to take a stand against bullying, Phil’s life has been changed for the better. “He hasn’t stopped smiling,” Tammy shared with a local newspaper. “He has new brothers and sisters watching over him.”