Beloved actor Paul Rudd sent a middle schooler a heartwarming letter of encouragement, promising the 12-year-old boy that “things get better” after his classmates refused to sign his yearbook at the end of the school year.
Brody Ridder, who just finished his sixth grade year at The Academy of Charter Schools in Westminster, Colorado, was devastated in May when his yearbook was left nearly blank of signatures and well-wishes for the upcoming summer.
Brody told KDVR that he had already endured a long, tough year of bullying.
His mother Cassandra Ridder, posted a photo to Facebook of her son’s yearbook pages, empty except for a couple of signatures and a note from a teacher.
Brody wrote a note to himself: “Hope you make some more friends – Brody Riddler.”
The heart-wrenching post went viral, and fortunately a superhero came to Brody’s rescue — the Avengers’ very own Ant-Man.
Rudd, 53, heard about Brody’s story in June and reached out to him personally over Facetime, according to Facebook posts from Cassandra Riddler.
Days later, Rudd sent Brody his very own autographed Ant-Man helmet with some wise words of encouragement for the middle-schooler:
“It was great talking to you the other day. It’s important to remember that even when life is tough that things get better. There are so many people that love you and think you’re the coolest kid there is — me being one of them! I can’t wait to see all the amazing things you’re going to accomplish,” he wrote, signing as “Your pal, Paul.”
He wrote on the helmet, “To my good friend Brody for when he takes on the world!” and signed it both as “Paul Rudd” and “Ant-Man.”
In a screenshot Cassandra shared on Facebook, Brody sent Rudd a message that said, “Your my favorite superhero,” and the actor responded, “You’re mine.”
“Guys, more tears,” Brody’s emotional mother wrote after receiving the package. “Paul Rudd is an amazing human being. Brody and Paul are on texting terms now.”
Cassandra told The Washington Post that her son has been bullied by his classmates.
“There’s kids that have pushed him and called him names,” she told the paper. “Brody has been through a lot.”
Brody received widespread support from his school and local community after his mother’s post gained traction.
Local high schoolers rounded up as many students as possible to fill up Brody’s yearbook with over 100 signatures and notes even though they’d never met him, according to KDVR.
He also received a personal video invitation from the cast of Dear Evan Hansen to come see a performance of the show on Broadway.
He told the local outlet he is skeptical that those who initially refused their signature will become his friends next year, but doesn’t think it’s impossible.