Column: Bullying - a tale of two very different boys

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This is the tale of two boys. Both suffered the same problem, but each had very different outcomes. First, there's nine-year-old Ollie Hope-Smith, who became a social media sensation when his dad put out a desperate plea on Twitter.

Written across three Tweets, dad Chris wrote: “Strange request. Anyone know anyone famous/well known who could send Ollie a positive 9th birthday message? The bully keeps saying to him that everything Ollie has, he has bigger/better/more often. Ollie excited for his birthday, but keeps being told it won’t be as good as his own … just would love someone to tell him he does mean something.” What followed was nothing short of a miracle. For Chris not only had his Tweet liked over 40,000 times, he received messages from writers, actors, TV presenters, comedians and footballers. You name it, they responded. From Gladiator actor Russell Crowe to pub landlord comedian Al Murray, who wrote: “That bully is only picking on you because he knows you’re awesome and he isn’t.” The messages continued to flood in, making Ollie the happiest and most popular nine-year-old on the planet. I bet the bully wishes he was Ollie’s friend now that he’s been invited by England football club to go and watch a game and meet the squad. I doubt the boy who picked on him has anything bigger or better than that, eh? Good for Ollie, and well done to his dad (right). Give that man a pat on the back for turning the situation on his head and allowing his son to come out on top. Then the story of Sam Abel. A lovely lad who was picked on for two things – his father is a disabled veteran and Sam was academically smart. With the surname Abel, the bullies taunted him with ‘Abel, so disabled.’ What idiots! Sadly, Sam, 14, didn’t tell his parents Anita and Mark just how bad the bullying had got, both at school and online. They didn’t have a clue about his mental torment. So, when Anita first saw her battered son in hospital, she thought he’d not worn his cycle helmet. But Sam's head injuries were a result of him throwing himself off the top of a building. Anything to escape the bullies. The Abels can’t bring their precious boy back but they can speak out so the bullies realise their words have consequences. My heart goes out to Sam’s parents and others in that situation. But I feel nothing for bullies. They are vile ones who are left with blood on their hands.

I doubt the boy who picked on him has anything bigger or better than that, eh? Good for Ollie