ChadMichael Morrisette is a successful brand consultant and visual designer based in Los Angeles, but growing up wasn't always easy for him.
“The entire football team bullied me,” he told Yahoo Parenting. “It wasn’t one guy, it was six or seven guys who would follow me in the hallways, harassing me, insulting me, threatening my life.”
Morrisette, who is gay, left his Mormon home when he was 15 and he didn’t think much about the bullying until he received a message on Facebook earlier this month.
The note from Louie Amundson read: “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 s***** and mean I was to you when we were in Jr. High. I want to apologize. If we lived in the same state I would apologize to your face. I don't even know if you remember, but I do and I am sorry.”
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Morrisette didn’t specifically remember Amudson because he was bullied by so many people, and it took him a few days to process the message. “It unlocked something in me I didn’t realize I’d been holding onto. I cried a little bit. It was so moving.” Morrisette forgave Amudson and thanked him for the apology.
Amudson said he felt he had to apologize. “You can’t change your past, but you do still own it,” he said. “I can’t take back the names I called him, and the threats I made toward him, but I can apologize. It doesn’t excuse my behavior as a child in any way, but as an adult it’s the best I can do to try to make it up to him.”
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Amudson’s daughter is on student council. “They were working on a skit about bullying, so she was asking several different questions about why kids bully, what to do if you’re bullied — then she asked if I was ever bullied, and I said yes,” he said. “She then asked if I had ever bullied anyone else, and I had to think about it for a minute and that’s the first time I had thought about it in 20-plus years, so I answered honestly and said yes.”
Morrisette said he was moved that Amudson’s daughter sparked a conversation about bullying. “There was something magical happening between dad and daughter, that she brought the apology out,” he said. “And that he was honest with her that, yes, he bullied — good for him. I’m quite proud of him.”
Amudson was touched by Morrisette’s forgiveness. “(I felt) humbled and ashamed and relieved all at once,” he said. “I owed him that apology, he did not owe me his forgiveness. The fact that he was able to forgive me showed that I may have been the bigger kid, but he is the bigger man. I really didn’t expect him to respond at all, and figured if he did it would be telling me where to stick the apology, kind of like ‘too little too late.’”
Morrisette hopes this will help bullies and their victims. “For the ones that are bullied and are young, it does get better,” he said. “It’s hard to see that now. And it doesn’t get better in a year or two, necessarily, but 20 years later you’ll look back and realize, it is better.”
Image via Yahoo Parenting