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12-year-old signs own yearbook with ‘Make more friends’ after classmates’ refusal to write

When Cassandra Ridder picked up her son Brody from school on May 24, the lad wasn’t his usual happy-go-lucky self.

Cassandra, 31, said that the sixth-grader didn’t want to talk about his day and only wanted to listen to music. To lighten the mood, she asked him about his yearbook.

Earlier that day, the mom had received an email informing parents that students would be bringing their class yearbooks home. She was curious if Brody got lots of signatures.

Cassandra Ridder and Brody Ridder

Photo from Cassandra Ridder

But when she brought it up, her son got really sad. He said: “No Mom, no one really signed my yearbook, I asked people and they either told me no or that they would do it later, that they were too busy for me.”

When Brody, 12, handed over his yearbook, Cassandra’s heart sank. The page was almost empty, except for a couple of messages from his teachers and two students’ names.

To fill in the space, Brody had written a note to himself that read, “Hope you make some more friends,” then signed his own name.

“I tried to make him feel better,” Cassandra said. “I told him that it might have just been a hectic day, and to give people the benefit of the doubt. I told him that things will get better and to stay positive, that no matter what, I will always be his friend.”

Cassandra said that her son enjoys chess, dinosaurs, and fencing. However, he sits alone at lunch and plays by himself during recess. His peers can’t relate to his interests.

“He’s super intellectual and the kids in his age group have trouble relating to him,” she explained.

The other kids also make fun of Brody because his ears stick out, and he’s extremely thin. Because of the bullying, Cassandra said that the boy cries to her “pretty much every day.”

Cassandra has worked with the school to try and stop the bullying, harassment, and teasing that Brody had experienced this year.

But upon discovering what happened with Brody’s yearbook, Cassandra reached her breaking point. That night, she wrote a post on the school’s Facebook page for parents.

She wanted to let the other parents know this was happening at the school and remind them they should talk to their kids about being kind to one another.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like things are getting any better. 2 teachers and a total of 2 students wrote in his yearbook. Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it,” her post read. “So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is shattered. Teach your kids kindness.”

Cassandra didn’t expect that much would come from it, but the next day, she received an unexpected text from Brody.

He wrote, “Facebook this,” alongside a photo of his yearbook filled with signatures and messages!

“Brody — you are the kindest little kid. You are so loved. Don’t listen to the kids that tell you different.”

“Hey buddy, never change, never put your head down.”

“Brody — I hope you have an amazing summer! You’re worth it and you matter!”

“Hey dude, you’re freaking awesome. Stay that way.”

Brody had messages from eighth-graders and even 11th graders. Some even put their phones for the kid to contact them.

Cassandra said Brody’s exact words to her were, “This is the best day ever.”

The students who had previously refused to write in his yearbook were suddenly “lining up” to sign their names and write their messages.

And one famous person who caught wind of Brody’s story decided to befriend him—Paul Rudd!

The actor sent him a sweet note and a gift. The pair are even on texting terms now.

“Dear Brody, It was great talking to you the other day. It’s important to remember that even when life is tough that things get better. There are so many people that love you and think you’re the coolest kid there is—me being one of them! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’re going to accomplish.” the note read.

With all that has happened, Brody feels more confident now and is already talking about how excited he is for seventh grade.

Cassandra said the kid is on “cloud nine.”

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Alan Jones

Monday 7th of August 2023

Dear Brody (and mom), I was the kid who played chess, was a good student especially in math and science. I was kidded about all kinds of stupid made up things. I felt alone and ignored. I kept pushing along. Graded HS, and college, and a university with high grades. Because a top software engineer, eventually got in management. When I has always avoided talking in groups because I didn't want more harrasment and rejection. I am not a famous star, but I was successful. You will be to. I would love to hear from you and how you are doing. Happy to talk about any topic. With mom's permission of course.

Miriel Golden

Monday 27th of March 2023

I would love to sign Brody's yearbook. He seems like an awesome kid. I'm happy his mom spoke up for him and he recieved so much support for kind individuals.💛

Monday 27th of March 2023

Dear Brody & (Mom) you are an absolutely incredible young man & your mom has done an absolutely amazing job raising you with such a kind, generous, gentle, loving heart. I would have loved to have signed your yearbook. I’m so glad your peers lined up to sign your yearbook. They know they were in the wrong. This world needs more Brody’s in it with your gentle soul.

I can’t wait to see all the amazing accomplishments you are going to achieve in the next few years!! Remember to keep your head up & keep going & don’t ever let anyone steal your Joy or Happiness!!

D’Marie

Sunday 26th of March 2023

Dear Brody, Sometimes people are intimidated by the unknown.

Know this my friend… You are an amazing act to follow. You lead and your peers are sure to follow.

Keep leading by example because this world needs more Brody’s to show ‘em how it’s done.

Enjoy all the good things this crazy life has to offer!

Keep smiling!

Debbie Rayer

Saturday 9th of July 2022

Brody ( and mom!) you are both an inspiration! In a world that can sometimes be cold and cruel… Be different and scatter Joy and Kindness and warmth…in other words “ keep being You”. Thanks for making my day

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