People Taking Action: School custodian helps bullied Beach student

Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 22, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-24 13:41:59-04

We shine our spotlight on a Virginia Beach school employee who saw something that might have looked like trash and because he took action, he helped a fourth grader who was dealing with being bullied.

In the school office at Parkways Elementary, co-workers gather waiting for a special custodian to show up. He was being escorted by his supervisor who was in on the surprise of  23-year-old Bradley Parker. As soon as he walked in he was greeted by a thunderous "Surprise!"  Parker was stunned. "I'm shaking.  I don't know what to think right now.

I told him we got an email from a mom, Kristian Jones, who wrote me about her 10-year-old son Anthony. She read a portion of her email.

"He was being bullied a little bit. The sad part was he was afraid to let the teacher know. He didn't want to tell his teacher in front of the other students because he didn't want to make it worse. He decided to write the teacher a note."

But Anthony lost that note and that's where Parker comes in; He found it and fortunately didn't discard it like trash. "I opened it up and it said, "A note from Anthony, and it said 'The table, the kids at my table say they feel I don't fit in.' And that didn't sit well with me, and so I went out of my way to find out who exactly Anthony was.

He did more than that. Parker offered to be a mentor to Anthony. The school has a special program that pairs staff members with students who could use a buddy. Anthony was very excited about this. "It's important to me because I always have someone to look up to in case something happens to me."

They talk on and off throughout the day, he's kinda like a big brother for Anthony.

Parker was eager to support this program. "I just know when I was younger, I was somewhat in a similar situation as Anthony and don't want him to go through that."

And because of his help, Anthony's mom wanted us to surprise Parker with a NewsChannel 3 People Taking Action Award. We also presented him with a $100 Visa gift card from our community partner Southern Bank.  Parker was honored for the recognition. "That's awesome! Thank you very much."

A well-deserved honor for participating in a program that means so much to the fourth grader.

"Well if a kid gets bullied they will have someone in the school they can always
talk to in case something bad happens to them; so I just think being part of that is a wonderful experience." For mom to hear this had her fighting back tears. "It really warms my heart that people take interest because he really didn't have to. He could have threw the note away. He could've just did his job. But he did more than his job that day and it's turned into something wonderful for my son and so I appreciate you."