He was gobsmacked as he stared out in front of him. The large number before him reminded him that there was hope as he let out a satisfied sigh.
10 years ago, when the teasing first started, Evan already knew he was different from the other kids.
They all had bright smiles and loads of friends. There was playful ribbing yes, and plenty of joking around. But it felt like one day, out of the blue, no one wanted to be around him. That’s when the pain turned to tears.
He just couldn’t understand. Some kids had big ears or tripped over their growing feet every time they ran.
So why were his teeth such a big deal? They started as big, white pearls at the front of his bright smile. He thought it made him special. The other kids didn’t agree, and oh boy did they let him know.
It started as glances and secret whispers with plenty of snickering and pointing.
However, thanks to one of the meaner boys, it instantly changed to something unbearable. “Rabbit Boy” was his new nickname. Every time someone said it, his stomach would go into sick twist and knots. His mom tried to step in.
Her advice of “just ignore them” didn’t work. He tried to tell them to stop and leave him alone, but the teasing only got worse!
He would come home every day crying and begging to not have to go to school the next day. One night, he overheard a heartbreaking conversation between his parents.
It had come after one extra-harsh day. Evan had liked one girl forever, and he thought they were friends.
But every part of him wanted to curl up into a dark hole the moment she joined the “Rabbit Boy” team. “How much?!” his father had said, spitting out his coffee.
“The dentist said it’s the worst case of buck teeth he’s seen in his entire 25 years.
It’s going to cost at least $12,000 to fix them,” his mom answered. Evan huddled near the stairs and started to cry. He knew that was a lot of money … and they didn’t have it. He would be stuck like this forever.
How was he going to get through the rest of school, or life for that matter?
But then something strange happened. Suddenly, his parents got really happy … like “crying” happy. They promised thing would get better really soon. Did they get a raise at work? Maybe they won the lottery?
Even sat at the kitchen table, confused why his parents were so elated.
But when they said news report and “donations”, he finally understood. After years of torture, there was finally a ray of hope. But how much had the fundraise brought in? It wasn’t $12,000.
The news story about Evan’s teeth had gone viral.
He poured through the messages of love and support from people all over the world. The total donations that came in was just over $100,000! He wasn’t just going to get his teeth fixed, he was about to get the best of the best!
The dentist warned him it would be a painful process that would take years. But he didn’t care. He was ready to start now!
The pain couldn’t be worse than what he had to deal with at school. The first thing was to fix the angle. Most teeth sat at a 2% tilt, but his was at 12!
They moved them 15mm and it already made a huge difference. But that wasn’t the end of things.
Evan gratefully took every headache and toothache that came his way over the years. And while most kids cried when they got braces, he was the happiest he had ever been!
Slowly, the teasing fizzled into standard silliness that came with the age group. Even the girl that had stopped being friends with him tried to be nicer.
Evan wasn’t going to be mean to her, but he certainly wasn’t going to be friends. It had been a long process, but the last day finally arrived.
Evan sat in the dentist chair with his smiling mom right beside him.
Today was the day the braces would come off. It had been so many surgeries and metal in his mouth. But each pang of discomfort was a wonderful reminder that things were changing. The dentist took off the last bracket and handed him a mirror.
They were perfect! He marvelled at his bright, shining grin. Even is mom cried a little.
The bullying had been horrible, but thanks to the kindness of strangers from all over the world, he could finally be happy again. He would be grateful forever, and he would never stop smiling.