TURLOCK, Calif. (KTXL) — A young Turlock teen with special needs, who was beaten and robbed at a park, helped organize an anti-bullying bike ride at that same park Saturday.
Fourteen-year-old Michael Valdez helped his mom organize the ride after three boys beat him, then stole his bike and shoes at the park in early February.
“To bring everybody together that’s been bullied or anybody that wants to help stop bullying,” Michael told FOX40. “I don’t want anybody else to get bullied like I did.”
Michael is now turning his pain into action and is taking a stand against bullying and asking others to do the same.
“Everybody be courteous about it and just look out for everybody and see if anybody, like, take an extra look and see if you see anybody being bullied or anything and if you do, just stop and help them out,” said Michael.
Riders from across the Central Valley came out Saturday, including a motorcycle club from Fresno who prayed for him then joined the ride.
Michael’s mother, Monica Valdez, told FOX40 Michael has been scared to go out and play since the attack but she’s hoping that will change now that he know’s he’s not alone.
“It makes me feel, a lot of joy because I’m seeing all these people that are backing up Michael,” said Monica. “He did tell me it traumatized him. It took a lot of his trust in people and so I hope mike takes away that there’s a lot of nice people in Turlock and the world”
Monica said she wants to see more anti-bullying awareness in and out of school going forward.
“Start talking to your kids. Find out if they’re the ones that are bullying or find out if they’re the ones getting bullied and check-in with them so the bullying can stop,” said Monica.
Turlock Mayor Amy Bublak stopped by to show her support for Michael and promote doing the right thing.
“He is a strong person and he knows what’s right and what’s wrong and he’s trying to tell us don’t get mad at the people but let’s stand up to the people and tell them that they can’t act like that. And for a young man to be that wise, it’s incredible. He’s a future leader of our community with that kind of attitude.”
The family also gave out bracelets and collected donations they say they will pledge to the national “Stomp Out Bullying” organization.