Most people know that bullying is a huge problem all over the world — kids have been bullied before a word for it even existed. Singling out someone for no reason and taking all your personal frustrations out on them is something we see around us every day.
Thankfully, bullying is now a subject most of us are aware of. And fortunately, standing up to bullies and having others support you is now a trend that is on the rise. A perfect example is this poor boy’s experience at his local Burger King…
Robert is like most teenagers. he is quiet and studious and he loves to play videogames and watch movies in his spare time.
He lives in a small residential community in Florida. After school one day, Robert’s trip to his local Burger King for a treat turned into a nightmare because of bullies.
For a reason he couldn’t fathom, Robert had caught the eye of a group of teenagers that summer. It seemed like everywhere Robert went, they showed up to bully him. This had been going on for weeks.
Fortunately, Robert was a tough kid. He didn’t let the name-calling and jeering get to him. But one day, the bullying began to take a frightening turn.
Robert was by himself, minding his own business and enjoying a whopper and some fries. Suddenly, the three teenagers who had been hounding him appeared out of nowhere.
The teens approached Robert. To anyone watching, it probably looked like they knew him. They walked purposefully toward him and sat down at his table. Their demeanor may have appeared friendly on the surface, but beneath their fake smiles, there were some dark undertones that would soon reveal the teens’ true intentions soon enough.
one of the teens exclaimed “Hey kid” when they recognized him. And before Robert could even react, the three nasty teenagers had cornered him. They sat down at his table, hemming him in from both sides.
Robert began to protest. “Leave me alone,” he pleaded. “What you got there?” the bully asked while looking pointedly at Robert’s lunch. But what the teens didn’t know was that they were all being watched.
One man was taking notice. He was sitting on a bench near where they were sitting, eating some fries. He was carefully watching the interaction between the teens and Robert.
When the teasing began to escalate, the man began to turn his attention toward the teenagers. At that point, one of the bullies maliciously snatched Robert’s drink and slowly poured it all over his food. That was when the man knew he had to act.
The man who was watching stood up just as Robert was trying to fend the older boys off. Pouring the boy’s drink over his food was a signal for the bullies to start getting physical.
“Gentlemen,” the man boomed, “What are you doing?” At first, the teens seemed shocked that a stranger was intervening. “Just playing, sir,” said their leader. But the man definitely didn’t buy it.
“You got a problem?” the man asked the bullies. “Why are you picking on him?” The boys seemed stumped and didn’t know quite how to answer his question.
“Just playing,” the teen repeated in a low voice. Now he was standing with his head down, clearly uncomfortable. His demeanor had changed in an instant. Were the man’s words were having an effect?
The man continued to berate the bullies: “Don’t you think your parents would love this? You guys getting arrested for picking on your classmate?” he asked, “You think they’d be proud of you?”
“No, sir,” the older boy answered sheepishly. The man then turned to the other two teens, who had been conspicuously silent during the exchange.
“Why didn’t you guys stop him?” the man grilled them. “You guys wanna be part of this?” Again, a “no, sir.” Satisfied that his message had come across, he turned to Robert.
“Are you ok?” he asked him. “Why don’t you take your lunch, and we’ll go over there,” he said, offering some company. He then asked the teens to leave. But there was still had one more thing to do that would really slam the message home for these teens.
Unbeknownst to the kind man who helped Robert, the entire incident had actually been orchestrated by Burger King and No Bully, an organization dedicated to raising awareness.
The franchise aimed to create a thought-provoking social experiment to show the behavior of people when confronted with difficult situations. Little did anyone in the restaurant know that there was another form of “bullying” going on in the restaurant that day.
In addition to the teens bullying the lone boy, the employees also began to “bully” the burgers they were serving. Before they wrapped them up and served them, they smashed the burgers with their fists.
The video elicited countless reactions and sparked a national conversation about bullying. But how did the diners react to being served smashed burgers?
The customers’ responses to the bullying going on right in front of them versus the “bullied” food they were served are very telling, and indeed heartbreaking.
There were a few people who decided to intervene and help the bullied teen, but sadly, while 95 percent of people spoke up about their smashed burgers, only 12 percent were decided to stand up to the bullies.
Titled “Bullying Jr.,” the video’s purpose was to see how people would react when they saw a child being bullied.
The video clearly hit a nerve, reaching over 8 million views on YouTube to date. The campaign also attracted a lot of attention on Twitter: Thankfully, it wasn’t just the one man who stood up to the bullies.
The experiment was conducted two other times, and, even though there weren’t many people willing to step in, there was one truly heartwarming moment when a woman sat down to eat with the boy who was being picked on to show him that she was there for him and that she supported him.
Kudos to Burger King for releasing such a thought-provoking campaign! But, how do we address the problem of bullying?
Although bullying is a huge problem in schools, not all institutions take the issue as seriously or truly know how to address it. A lot of parents report teachers and other school staff downplaying concerns about their child being bullied.
Hopefully, every adult, from teachers to parents to random strangers, can learn from this social experiment and not hesitate to help a child who is being bullied.