Instead of making the situation worse for the troubled teen, Aubrey Fontenot decided to help with kindness.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 3, 2021. It has since been updated.
When Aubrey Fontenot's son Jordan opened up to him about being bullied at school, like every concerned parent, he was determined to put an end to it. The Houston dad took the matter to school officials, alerting them about the older boy who was tormenting his 8-year-old. "My son gets daily progress reports and it seemed like the two always had issues. The bullying thing was ongoing," Fontenot, a local tattoo artist, told the Houston Chronicle. "I asked my son about it and he told me the boy was messing with him and was too rough. I told [the school] that stuff like this can be a lot for a kid and we didn't know what my son was going through. They said they would take care of it."
However, another incident involving the same boy took place not long after, this time resulting in Jordan's phone disappearing. Upset, Fontenot found himself back in the school's office, speaking to the principal and a police officer about the disappearance. During his conversation with them, he discovered that the bully — an 11-year-old boy named Tamarion — was actually in need of help. "They insinuated he was homeless. I was like 'Oh ok I didn't realize that, wow that makes a lot of sense,'" Fontenot told Good Morning America.
Fontenot spoke with Tamarion's mother, who confirmed that the family had fallen on hard times and was indeed homeless. "I decided I wanted to talk to the boy myself, and his mom gave me permission," he revealed. When Fontenot spoke to Tamarion, the youngster admitted that he was actually jealous of Jordan — because he had clean clothes. "He said he was getting made fun of by the other kids. They said his shoes were cheap and his clothes were dirty," Fontenot said. The following week, he took Tamarion shopping to buy him some new clothes.
spent some time with my sons school bully yesterday .. just to dig a little deeper on”why?” .. come to find out he was being bullied for not having clean clothes n clean shoes.. I asked “why?” .. just to find out that his family is currently homeless🤴🏿♥️🙏✊🏽I had to do Something pic.twitter.com/IY29lgChqY— TattooArtistAubrey (@illuminaubrey_) October 17, 2018
"I took him shopping and bought him some clothes. I talked to him about morals and principles and having self-respect. He's not much of a talker, but I got him to open up," Fontenot explained. "I figured I could help both him and my son, and better the situation. I told him he's a great person and this [situation] doesn't make him bad. I also told him that no matter what's going on, you have to walk around with your head up and chest up. This world is tough. You can't let what people say or do bring your self-confidence down."
This is today .. .. potnas .. n now I’m a first time mentor 🤷🏾♂️🙏 pic.twitter.com/9JpD2X84Qq— TattooArtistAubrey (@illuminaubrey_) October 17, 2018
Fontenot also set up a meeting between Tamarion and Jordan. "They each got to talk and then I said, 'From here, this is nothing. Shake hands and from now on you are brothers and you protect each other,'" he said, adding that he wanted his son to know "every war isn't won with your hands. It's easy to react to first emotions but sometimes you have to outsmart a situation." Fontenot shared part of his day out with the youngster in a video he posted to Twitter, which featured him urging a shy and smiling Tamarion to sing.
"Spent some time with my son's school bully yesterday... Just to dig a little deeper on 'why?'... Come to find out he was being bullied for not having clean clothes n clean shoes... I asked 'why?... Just to find out that his family is currently homeless. I had to do something," he tweeted. After the tweet went viral, he set up a GoFundMe page to help Tamarion's family, raising over $31,000 to get them back on their feet.