Bullied Girl, Whose Brother Wrote Viral Letter to Santa, Surprised by Favorite Band
The 8-year-old boy whose letter went viral after asking Santa to stop kids at school from bullying his twin sister, got one of his requests fulfilled today on " Good Morning America." His sister, Amber, a fan of the band Big Time Rush, got serenaded by her favorite band in New York City.
The third grade girl, who suffered bullying at school, was star struck when her idols walked out and serenaded her with a special performance, bringing a much-needed smile to her face.
The story started when the twins' mother, Karen Suffern, from Rocky Mount, N.C., asked her 8-year-old twins to write a letter to Santa with their Christmas wishes over the weekend. She expected to see toys, books and clothes on the list and was shocked to see the heartfelt request from her son for Santa Claus to step in and put an end to his sister's bullying.
"Dear Santa … I wanted a [remote control] car and helicopter, but I don't want that any mor. Kid at school are still picking on Amber and its not fair because she doesnt do anything to them … ," Ryan wrote. "I prayed that they will stop but god is bisy and needs your help.
"Is it against the rules to give gift early?" he wrote.
"Ryan handed me his and told me not to read it so of course I read it to find out what he wanted," Suffern said. "That's when I realized and thought, 'Oh, my gosh.'"
Ryan didn't stop there. He also asked for his sister to meet her favorite band.
"Can you ask Big Time Rush to come to Amber's birthday party? It will make her so happy. If you can't get them to come, but just get her everything she asks for. Thanks, Santa," he wrote.
Suffern posted the letter to her Facebook page to share with family and a few close friends, or so she thought. After her friends shared it on their own pages and online, however, the letter went viral, making news across the globe as people were touched by Ryan's words.
"It's amazing and overwhelming at the same time," Suffern said of the outpouring and online response.
"Good Morning America" saw Ryan's letter and co-anchor Josh Elliott sat down with Suffern and the twins in New York City Thursday.
Amber explained how kids at school pick on her, but said she didn't know why.
"They say I'm fat. I'm stupid. I'm ugly. And I'm hideous. I don't really believe them," she told Elliott.
Ryan said he wishes kids would bother him instead of his sister.
"You don't have to do that," Amber said.
"Yes, I do," he interjected.
Amber said Ryan is a "fun," "active" and protective brother and that she was touched by his letter to Santa Claus.
What Amber didn't know during the interview was that her favorite band, Big Time Rush, was waiting in the wings to surprise her as an early birthday present, just what Ryan wished for. The family will also be VIP guests of the band at a concert this weekend in New York City.
Starting a Conversation About Bullying
Prior to Ryan's letter, Suffern was aware that her daughter was suffering at school and it broke her heart.
"She would tell me things that kids would say at school," Suffern explained. "They would egg her on to do different things: she would crawl on the floors on a bus. You know, she would eat things off the chairs…It hurt me because I'm like, 'I hope she's not feeling how I used to feel when I was her age'? And it was a pattern."
Suffern, who was also bullied as a child, decided it must end after a recent conversation with Amber when the 8-year-old said "sometimes I just feel like I wanna die so they'll leave me alone."
"As soon as those words came out of her mouth, I literally felt my heart stop," Suffern said, getting emotional. "I told her I would do everything I could to protect her."
The letter allowed Suffern to open a dialogue with her children's school, and begin to make things better for Amber, who Suffern says suffers from ADHD, depression and a mood disorder.
"The school has been in touch and they're making sure my daughter feels comfortable and safe," Suffern said. "They moved her on the bus because about 98 percent of the bullying takes place on the bus. She's now sitting with her cousin who's much older than Amber is.
"Today and yesterday she didn't wake up begging me to let her stay home, so I guess that's a good sign," she said.