12-year-old signed his own yearbook telling himself to ‘make more friends’ after classmates refused to write in it

When Cassandra Ridder picked up her son Brody from school on May 24, the lad wasn’t his usual happy-go-lucky self.

Cassandra, 31, said that the sixth-grader didn’t want to talk about his day and only wanted to listen to music. She asked him about his yearbook to lighten the mood.

A mom received an email earlier that day informing her that students would be bringing home their class yearbooks. She was curious if Brody had received many signatures.

Photo by Cassandra Ridder

Her son became very sad when she brought up the topic. He said: “No Mom, no one really signed my yearbook, I asked people and they either told me no or that they would do it later, that they were too busy for me.”

When Brody, 12, handed over his yearbook, Cassandra’s heart sank. The page was almost empty, except for a couple of messages from his teachers and two students’ names.

A page from Brody Ridder's yearbook

To fill in the space, Brody had written a note to himself that read, “Hope you make some more friends,” then signed his own name.

“I tried to make him feel better,” Cassandra said. “I told him that it might have just been a hectic day, and to give people the benefit of the doubt. I told him that things will get better and to stay positive, that no matter what, I will always be his friend.”

Cassandra stated that her son enjoys fencing, dinosaurs and chess. He sits by himself at lunch and is often the only one in the room during recess. His peers can’t relate to his interests.

“He’s super intellectual and the kids in his age group have trouble relating to him,” she explained.

Brody Ridder with the older kids at his school

The other kids also make fun of Brody because his ears stick out, and he’s extremely thin. Because of the bullying, Cassandra said that the boy cries to her “pretty much every day.”

Cassandra worked with the school in an effort to stop the bullying, harassment and teasing Brody experienced this year.

But upon discovering what happened with Brody’s yearbook, Cassandra reached her breaking point. That night, she wrote a post on the school’s Facebook page for parents.

She wanted to let other parents know that this was happening at school and remind them to be kind to their children.

“My poor son. Doesn’t seem like things are getting any better. In his yearbook, he had 2 teachers and 2 students. Despite Brody asking all kinds of kids to sign it,” her post read. “So Brody took it upon himself to write to himself. My heart is broken. Teach your kids kindness.”

A page from Brody Ridder's yearbook

Cassandra didn’t expect that much would come from it, but the next day, she received an unexpected text from Brody.

He wrote, “Facebook this,” alongside a photo of his yearbook filled with signatures and messages!

“Brody — you are the kindest little kid. You are so loved. Don’t listen to the kids that tell you different.”

“Hey buddy, never change, never put your head down.”

“Brody — I hope you have an amazing summer! You’re worth it and you matter!”

“Hey dude, you’re freaking awesome. Stay that way.”

Ant-Man headgear signed by Paul Rudd

Brody received messages from eighth graders and even 11th-graders. Some even left their phones at home for Brody to use.

Cassandra said Brody’s exact words to her were, “This is the best day ever.”

The students who had previously refused to write in his yearbook were suddenly “lining up” to sign their names and write their messages.

And one famous person who caught wind of Brody’s story decided to befriend him—Paul Rudd!

Paul Rudd's letter to Brody Ridder

The actor sent him a sweet message and a gift. They even text each other now.

“Dear Brody, 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.” the note read.

Brody feels more confident after all this and is already excited about seventh grade.

Cassandra said the kid is on “cloud nine.”

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