A group of 50 bikers escorted a sixth grader to his first day of school
Phil Mick told his mom kids hit him and called him names last year
After months and months of being bullied in school, Phil Mick has a reason to smile: a new group of unlikely friends.
More than 50 bikers escorted the 11-year-old to his first day at DeKalb Middle School in Waterloo, Indiana. They wanted to show the world Phil had people in his corner.
His mom, Tammy Mick, said the bike ride was the first time she’d seen him smile in a long time. She said he was bullied at his elementary school for the last two years.
“They were calling him ‘fat,’ cussing at him, hitting him in private areas,” Mick, 38, told CNN. “He told me one day he wanted to end his life.”
But Phil’s new friends were determined to make sure that didn’t happen. They wanted this school year to be different.
The kindhearted kid
About a year ago, Phil’s mom noticed he had bruises all over him.
But he wouldn’t tell her where he got them. He tried to shrug it off.
“He would tell me, ‘Oh, I fell’ or something,” Mick said.
Finally, Phil broke down. Other students had been calling him “poor” and saying he was worthless.
“(But) I told him he can do anything in his life that he wants,” Mick told CNN. “I told him he was kindhearted. He would help anybody in a heartbeat.”
When her son started to contemplate committing suicide, Mick knew she had to do something.
She called James R. Watson Elementary School immediately to voice her concerns. But she said the administration brushed it off.
Steve Teders, superintendent of DeKalb Central Schools, told CNN he can’t comment on a student’s personal information but said the district takes bullying matters seriously.
“Communication is key. We want to obviously work with parents,” Teders said. “We have specific programs and lessons that are taught … to help curb bullying and bullying behavior.”
An unlikely friendship
In December, the Mick family met Brent Warfield, the director of the United Motorcycle Enthusiasts, through an event to help pair low-income families with Christmas presents.
Warfield gave Phil his very own bicycle. The now-sixth grader loves to build and would like to work on cars someday, so the gift was right up his alley.
Once his mom told Warfield about the bullying, together, they hatched a plan.
“Kids are getting bullied and I can’t stand it,” Warfield told CNN. “We are trying to help the community and spread awareness to prevent kids from being mean to others and prevent possible suicides.”
The United Motorcycle Enthusiasts, which is based in Fort Wayne, Indiana, is made up of motorcyclists who host rides for different causes and charities.
Warfield gathered up a group of more than 50 biker friends and decided to give Phil a first day of school for the books.
Phil’s wild ride
Tuesday morning came with anticipation for the Mick family.
The group gathered at Richard’s Restaurant in Auburn, Indiana, at about 6 a.m.
Warfield had put a call out on social media to “get as many riders as possible” to join Phil on his journey.
DeKalb Middle School’s principal said the school heard about the event through social media. The superintendent called it a “positive event.”
“We’ve had some great conversations with the bikers,” Teders said. “We appreciate all adults speaking up and supporting students.”
Together, Phil and his new friends hit the streets just after sunrise.
Phil rode a sleek Victory Cross Country Motorcycle four miles to his new middle school.
It was his first time, and his mom said he absolutely loved it.
He arrived at school 20 minutes later, ready for sixth grade to begin.
It’s been almost a week now, and so far, so good. His mom said it’s nice to see him laughing again.